Supreme Court Avoids Ruling on Two Partisan Gerrymandering Cases

SCOTUS Punts on Two Gerrymandering Cases

The Maryland case is only in its preliminary phase and has not yet had a trial. The Maryland case was about a Democratic gerrymander, where the Democratic legislature redrew one district from performing majority-Republican to majority-Democrat to sustain its dominance. The U.S. Supreme Court and a lower federal court both declined to halt or overturn the use of the new districts in this year's elections.

And the outcome could hinge on what the justices think about three clear and candid sentences Lewis uttered 28 months ago.

That is, two of the three judges on the special panel agreed that Republicans could not purposefully pack Democrat voters into certain districts in which a Democrat was likely to win or spread them out (crack) over other districts to weaken their voting strength. During oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts called it sociological gobbledygook.

Meanwhile, Eau Claire County Democrat chair Beverly Wickstrom said: "In terms of the whole system of government in the state of Wisconsin, for those who believe that the gerrymandering has given undue weight to certain districts, then it's definitely a loss, because those districts carry through into the next election cycle". The General Assembly set to work reconfiguring the map with Lewis in charge. Using his map, let's show the two bad options and the solution that should be advanced as a follow-up to a FixIt America solution of siding with the people over overt partisan politics and incumbent protection that kills our democratic republic. "I want that criteria to be clearly stated and understood".

The case: A federal lawsuit filed June 13 and backed by a national Democratic redistricting group alleges that a U.S. House district was redrawn in 2011 by the state's Republican-led Legislature and GOP governor to illegally limit the voting influence of black residents. "In the process, the court "[turned] potential constitutional blockbusters into minor rulings", as Adam Liptak writes in The New York Times. Two of the judges said it also violated the First Amendment free speech rights of Democratic voters because their opinions are different from the party in power.

This decision now won't result in any major changes for any other states, including North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia, where gerrymandering accusations have been levied. "Starting in January, when session starts again, we could pass a bill that would require non-partisan districting so we don't have to wait for the courts, but that would be the earliest anything could change", Stuck says.

Pending before the court is a challenge of North Carolina's redistricting.

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In an email to HuffPost, Whitford pointed to several measures passed since 2012 by Wisconsin lawmakers who were elected under those arguably unconstitutional maps.

She added that in the Pennsylvania case, they had plaintiffs from all of the state's 18 congressional districts that were challenging both their individual districts as well as the statewide map and many of them testified about the harm that was caused because of it.

The court opted instead to send the case back to the lower court so the challengers might have another chance to "prove concrete and particularized injuries" by showing there had been a burden on their individual votes.

Election reformers in both parties had hoped the justices would rein in the intensified use of partisan gerrymandering, a practice in which the party that controls a state legislature uses the process of redrawing electoral districts after the USA census every decade to tighten its grip on power by diluting the influence of voters who tend to support the rival party.

The court issued a pair of unanimous rulings in partisan redistricting cases from Wisconsin and Maryland that decided very little, and ensured that any resolution by the nation's high court would not come before the 2018 midterm elections. Smith argued the case before the Court previous year.

The ruling indicates that the court's pivotal justice, Anthony Kennedy, was not persuaded by the challengers that they had presented a way for courts to determine when partisan efforts so infect a state's political maps that they violate the Constitution. The party on the wrong end of redistricting, she wrote, "may face difficulties fundraising, attracting volunteers, and recruiting candidates to run for office", thereby harming the constitutional right to free association. Robert Pittenger in the GOP primary in a district linking the Charlotte suburbs to Fayetteville. And in Wisconsin, where a Republican-drawn map was challenged, the court threw out the ruling challenging the Republican maps.

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