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Supreme Court rules against Democrats in Wisconsin redistricting

22 Juin 2018

The second possibility, challenging a statewide map through an organizational plaintiff, could be tested in a North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case that could make its way to the Court next term.

In Maryland, Republicans sued over a single congressional district that was redrawn in 2011, as the state's Democratic former governor said, to turn a Republican seat Democratic. "We are disappointed that the Court failed to set a standard when it comes to partisan gerrymandering".

The usual course when the justices find that parties to a lawsuit lack the right to sue, or standing, is to dismiss the case.

"It is a case about group political interests, not individual legal rights", Roberts wrote.

"Partisan gerrymandering, as this Court has recognized, is 'incompatible with democratic principles, ' " Kagan wrote, adding, "More effectively every day, that practice enables politicians to entrench themselves in power against the people's will". Can litigants challenge a state's entire map at once, or must they go district by district? The district had been held by a 20-year Republican incumbent.

"Partisan gerrymandering no doubt burdens individual votes, but it also causes other harms", Justice Elena Kagan wrote.

Kennedy, who had been viewed as the deciding vote on partisan redistricting, did not write separately Monday.

Kagan, alternatively, offered suggestions on how challengers could get their claim heard, including if it were a broad-based assertion of a First Amendment violation based on free association.

"Obama and Holder and their liberal allies have raised millions of dollars to present the Supreme Court a case with no legal standing, and will continue to raise millions of dollars to tie up our courts to try to rig the system for Democrats and risk politicizing our judicial system".

A federal court had said maps drawn in 2011 by Wisconsin Republicans were among the most heavily skewed to one party of any plan in the country going back more than 40 years. The term was named after the fifth vice president of the USA and former MA governor Elbridge Gerry, who redrew the map of the state senate's voting districts to weaken the opposing party in 1810.

The Supreme Court's decision in Gill v. Whitford is a disappointment and missed opportunity - but it is not unexpected.

Schwarzenegger has made crusading against so-called "gerrymandering", or the drawing of election maps so they help one political party over another, part of his mission since leaving public office. Rep. Steve Strivers (R-Ohio), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee publicly explained that the playing field is tilted in Republicans' favor due to the last round of redistricting. To recap, the state went Republican for the first time since 1984, and Hillary Clinton caught heat for not campaigning in Wisconsin at all during the general election. Just a month ago, OH voters overwhelmingly passed redistricting reform, and other states like Colorado are not far behind.

While the court regularly polices state redistricting efforts that can harm racial minorities, it has never thrown out a map for partisan gerrymandering. He said the plaintiffs had claimed statewide injury to Wisconsin's Democrats, but that did not establish individual standing.

"This case is very much still alive", Mr. Smith said while noting both options. There were two cases on the court's agenda, one brought by Democrats and the other, by Republicans.

Like Wisconsin, North Carolina is closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, yet Republicans hold a 10-3 edge in congressional seats after the GOP-dominated Legislature created the maps. "We are pleased with the unanimous opinion from the U.S Supreme Court". In Pennsylvania, a state court redrew the lines for 2018, and the justices refused to intervene.

But the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), which filed an amicus brief in the case, suggested that plaintiffs will have a hard time moving forward.

Over the past few decades, computer software programs have vastly improved the art of line-drawing for partisan advantage. "It is more important than ever for lawmakers to act and pass legislation that takes redistricting out of the hands of politicians".

The lines in some major states are so one-sided that Democrats would need a landslide in November to win control of the House of Representatives, a new report by the Brennan Center estimates. Also, Democrats and Republicans jousted over the report on the FBI's probe into Hillary Clinton's emails.

That isn't the case everywhere. The Republican-controlled Assembly, they argued, "cracked" and "packed" Democratic voters in order to ensure Republican dominance.

Supreme Court rules against Democrats in Wisconsin redistricting