Implications For Texas As Supreme Court Considers Gerrymandering Case

Claudine Rigal
Juin 21, 2017

It said redistricting efforts were unlawful partisan gerrymandering when they sought to entrench the party in power, and had no other legitimate justification. The Court will face a stark choice: allow politicians to continue rigging the rules of the game to their own advantage, harming voters in the process, or allow courts to police and correct the worst partisan power grabs from the redistricting process.

Election results since then have shown the redistricting had its intended effect, with the GOP winning a larger majority in the state assembly, even as the statewide tally of votes was almost even between Republicans and Democrats, the lower court said.

The Supreme Court will take up a momentous fight over parties manipulating electoral districts to gain partisan advantage in a case that could affect the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans across the United States.

"I have long advocated for an independent commission to draw legislative districts, which is the only way to take partisanship out of the process", Kind also said. Redistricting occurs based on the results of the U.S. Census, which is held every 10 years. The process of redistricting relies on "wasted votes", a process pointed out by a law professor of the University of Chicago and a lawyer for the challengers. The dissenting judge said that Wisconsin might have been politically motivated but the state complied with traditional redistricting principles that the Supreme Court has previously upheld. In 1812, Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a law creating a voting district shaped like a salamander that heavily favored his party, the Democratic-Republicans.

How does racial gerrymandering work?

He used the vote in urban areas like Milwaukee and Madison as an example: "I don't care how you draw the maps there, they're always going to win by big margins", Walker said.

Critics of gerrymandered districts say they undermine democracy, leaving voters with little influence over who represents them.

The issue will be briefed and argued in the Supreme Court term that begins in October.

The nation's highest court on Monday said it will hear arguments in the case.

Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center, emphasized that the trend of gerrymandering is not unique to any one party. They argued that Democratic voters were spread so thinly across the state that it was impossible for Democratic legislative candidates to be elected and achieve a majority.

That was evident previous year in North Carolina, when state lawmakers were ordered by a federal court to redraw the state's racially gerrymandered congressional districts.

The Wisconsin case might serve as a landmark decision if the court rules against partisan districting.

The non-partisan redistricting and the state's top-two primary system have led to more-competitive races, some even pitting members of the same party against one another. The last time the court examined a partisan gerrymander case was in 2004, when the court could not agree on a way to test when political gerrymandering becomes an unconstitutional dilution of another's vote, as the Washington Post explained. Schimel urged the Supreme Court to consider the matter.

The court said both the First Amendment and the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection prohibit redistricting plans that make it harder for members of a disfavored political party to elect their candidates and that can not be justified on legitimate grounds. The court is now considering this case, Gill v. Whitford, on appeal.

In November, a panel of three judges ruled 2-1 that the Wisconsin Legislature's 2011 redrawing of State Assembly districts to favor Republicans was unconstitutional.

What effect may this case have?

And it gives the court an opportunity to formally determine a metric on what constitutes unlawful gerrymandering, which could have major implications for the way voting districts are drawn in other states.

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