Partisan Supreme Court hears gerrymandering case

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Partisan Supreme Court hears gerrymandering case

In Wisconsin, where Republicans redrew the lines after the 2010 federal census, they did so in a way that affords them a clear advantage in the lower house of the state legislature.

Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says: "With a Wisconsin Supreme Court election coming up in early 2018 to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, it is imperative that Wisconsinites fully understand and raise their voices about this issue - which will be prominent in that election". A recent poll by Democrat Celinda Lake and Republican Ashlee Rich Stephenson found that 71 percent of Americans want the court to set rules determining when partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution.

What about Kennedy? In the past, he has expressed sympathy for the argument that political gerrymandering has become such a problem that the court must intervene.

Ginsburg asked Erin Murphy, the lawyer for the GOP-run State Senate: "If you can stack a legislature in this way, what incentive is there for a voter to exercise his vote?"

Anne Arundel County voters are among the biggest victims of the decision by the Democrats who controlled the state's line-drawing to not just slice up the jurisdiction into four of Maryland's eight congressional districts but to turn the 3rd District, which now includes Annapolis, into a meandering, peninsula-hopping monstrosity that has drawn national derision. Voters in all three states have challenged the maps in court.

The left-leaning justices occupied much of the discussion and voiced concerns over the government's ability to indefinitely hold immigrants without a hearing while the court's righ-leaning justices questioned whether the court should be imposing deadlines for hearings in immigration matters.

Party-line voting of Supreme Court justices did not enhance the court's reputation when Republican justices united in the highly unpopular Citizens United case to give the wealthy substantial power to buy elections and when they united to dilute the Voting Rights Act while some Republican politicians practice systematic voter suppression of minority voters. At issue is the "efficiency gap", a tool developed by a law professor and political scientist which purports to measure excessive partisan gerrymanders. Using advanced technology, lawmakers and experts drew the maps in such a way that guaranteed their party's continued control over the state government for years to come.

In Wisconsin, Republicans received 48.6 percent of the statewide vote but captured 60 of 99 seats. In 2014 and 2016, their 52% of the vote got them 63 and 64 seats.

The way this is done is to draw the lines so that a great many Democrats are packed into just a few districts, watering down the value of each individual vote cast.

Courts have struck down districts as racially biased for decades, and other partisan districting lawsuits are moving through the courts in Maryland and North Carolina. And that has nothing to do with partisan gerrymandering. The practice takes its name from early 19th-century Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry, who developed a weird redistricting plan to keep his political cronies in power. "We believe we followed that and we think the justices will agree". In fact, a Supreme Court nominee was rejected in 1987 simply because he had previously used marijuana. The conservatives, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., said the court should not get in the business of deciding partisan battles.

Which is better for Democrats?

That's because the justices heard arguments on October 4 in Gill v Whitford, involving whether the extremely gerrymandered Wisconsin legislature deprives voters - and specifically those of the disadvantaged Democratic Party in Wisconsin - of their constitutional rights.

But, noted Ripple, partisan gerrymandering amplified that advantage.

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