Supreme Court to hear Wisconsin legislative district case

The Wisconsin redistricting case may have some of the answers to Justice Kennedy’s concerns about inserting the courts into reviewing partisan gerrymandering.

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The Wisconsin case comes as Texas is fighting legal challenges to its own legislative maps.

The case was initially decided in November by a panel of two U.S. District Court judges and a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, which said in a 2-1 decision that the 2011 Republican re-draw of state Assembly boundaries is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. In our stay application, I argued that requiring the Legislature to re-draw district maps this year would have been a waste of resources.

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Wendy Sue Johnson, said she is “grateful the Supreme Court will hear our case and listen to our stories of how we are harmed”.

The lower court’s ruling “ordered new maps drawn in time for the 2018 elections”, the wire service adds. “They’ve shown time and again that they can’t be trusted to put what’s best for our democracy before their narrow partisan political interests, and now the U.S. Supreme Court will consider if they’ve violated the provisions of our nation’s Constitution”.

As districts become less competitive, people elected to represent those areas in government move closer to their ideological bases and further away from the political centre, the Brookings Institution – a nonpartisan think tank – has said.

The Supreme Court will deal with Wisconsin’s appeal of a lower court ruling and will discuss the issue of gerrymandering, or manipulating electoral districts in order to favor a specific political party. In 2012, for example, Democrats could have held a 17-seat majority in the House over Republicans were it not for partisan gerrymandering, according to the Bennan Center’s analysis.

The Wisconsin case seems promising because the lower court said it found a way to measure the partisan nature of the districts.

Sachin Chheda (SAH’-chihn CHAY’-dah) is director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit.

“We filed this suit because our rights were being violated, and a federal trial court agreed”, said Bill Whitford, a retired law professor who serves as lead plaintiff.

A Supreme Court ruling faulting the Wisconsin redistricting plan could have far-reaching consequences for the redrawing of electoral districts due after the 2020 US census. In the past, the four most conservative justices (then including Antonin Scalia) have written that the courts should stay out of the issue altogether, while the four more progressive ones have disagreed. The four liberal Justices dissented….

The SCOTUS will decide whether Democratic voters in Wisconsin have a case. It will be the high court’s first case in more than a decade on what’s known as partisan gerrymandering.

“This will be the biggest and most important election law case in decades”. And “that work is proceeding”.

The two other Virginia lawsuits, both federal, argue that the legislature concentrated too much on race in drawing districts.

The Campaign Legal Center brought a motion with the justices last month, asking them to affirmi a November decision by the Seventh Circuit.

Redistricting happens every 10 years to reflect population changes recorded in the census. In the majority’s opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia noted that partisan gerrymandering is as old as colonial America, and that ultimately, it is not for the courts to insert themselves into the political actions of legislative redistricting.