Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide whether Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin drew electoral districts so out of whack with the state's political breakdown that they violated the constitutional rights of Democratic voters.

Lawmakers said they ignored race in redrawing the state's congressional districts and focused exclusively on party affiliation, yet the result is the same: divided communities and rigged elections that continue to deny North Carolina voters of their constitutional right to have a voice in choosing their representatives.

"I am thrilled the Supreme Court has granted our request to review the redistricting decision and that Wisconsin will have an opportunity to defend its redistricting process", Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, said in a statement. As Daily Kos notes, the Wisconsin GOP took a sweeping majority in the Assembly in 2012 even though Obama carried the state by seven points and more total votes went to Democratic candidates for state-lawmaker offices that Republicans.

"We find that Act 43 was meant to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters throughout the decennial period by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats", wrote Circuit Judge Kenneth Ripple in the lower district court ruling.

"Drawing new district lines in states with the most redistricting activity presented the opportunity to solidify conservative policymaking at the state level and maintain a Republican stronghold in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next decade", read the report.

Last year, the Illinois Supreme Court blocked the latest citizen initiative attempting to put a referendum before state voters that would permit them to change the Constitution to allow a bipartisan commission to perform redistricting instead of the Legislature.

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 Supreme Court is taking on a case about partisan advantage in redistricting that could affect elections across the United States.


It is a common practice for state legislatures to redraw voting districts to confer an advantage on the governing party.

The Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue of race and congressional district-drawing, most recently last month when it rejected two North Carolina districts, as The Two-Way reported. The justices have never struck down a state's electoral map because it was unfairly partisan, though they have outlawed gerrymandering along racial lines.

As it now stands in the courts, the groups who control the map-drawing process can help to sustain their dominance and engineer the political agenda. But "while some might find it distasteful, our prior decisions have made clear that a jurisdiction may engage in constitutional political gerrymandering".

In the 2016 congressional election, more Virginians voted for Democrats than Republicans by a scant margin - 1,859,426 to 1,843,010 - but those votes resulted in the seven-four Republican majority.

Republicans argue they are successful because they run better candidates in a state that is trending Republican.

Last year, a citizen-led group in IL collected over half a million signatures to get a question on the general election ballot to change the state constitution, allowing for an independent commission to oversee the map-making process.

The state appealed to the supreme court, arguing that recent election results favoring Republicans were "a reflection of Wisconsin's natural political geography", with Democrats concentrated in urban areas including Milwaukee and Madison. In 2014, Republicans won 52 percent of the vote and increased their state assembly majority to 63 seats.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that states can not gerrymander districts in an effort to reduce the influence of minority voters.


Popular
  • Apple demands cut of Chinese app 'tips'

    Apple demands cut of Chinese app 'tips'

    If the user decides not to leave a rating or a review, they won't have to see it over and over again every time they open the app. But the concern from developers may be the loss of control over when, or how often, that prompt is presented.
    Apple unveils 'HomePod' speaker, first new product in years

    Apple unveils 'HomePod' speaker, first new product in years

    The HomePod is integrated with Apple Music which makes it possible to listen to wide array of 40 million songs from its library. And Apple's biggest consumer hits - such as the iPhone or the iPod - haven't historically been the first in their category.
    Tigers drop opener to Red Sox 5-3

    Tigers drop opener to Red Sox 5-3

    Nicholas Castellanos hit an RBI double to drive in Jose Iglesias , who'd reached on an infield single with one out. Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia returned to the lineup after a stint on the 10-day DL with a sprained left wrist.
  • Qatar pulls all its troops from Djibouti-Eritrea border

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in longstanding differences and urged the parties to resolve them.
    'Wonder Woman' buries 'The Mummy' at box office

    'Wonder Woman' buries 'The Mummy' at box office

    With China still yet to open, it may still have an okay shot at avoiding red ink for Fox but it is not a hit by any measure. Another prediction exceeded was that of The Mummy , which did even worse in Wonder Woman's wake than originally expected.
    Qatar willing to understand Gulf concerns, ready for dialogue: Kuwaiti FM

    Qatar willing to understand Gulf concerns, ready for dialogue: Kuwaiti FM

    Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain announced on Sunday that it had created hotlines to help mixed families with Qatari members. The Kuwaiti foreign minister said in the statement that his country is "determined to find a solution to the current dilemma".
  • Pence hires outside legal counsel

    Pence hires outside legal counsel

    Cullen previously served as Virginia attorney general and US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Senator Paul Trible (R-VA) during the Iran-Contra investigation and was on the staff of Rep.
    Japan adds more North Koreans to blacklist over weapons program

    Japan adds more North Koreans to blacklist over weapons program

    Experts have consistently warned, however, that North Korea is slowly but surely working toward developing an ICBM . The trial was the first meant to replicate the flight profile of an ICBM that could be deployed by North Korea .

    Oil rebounds after API report, but analysts have little faith in gains

    Gasoline stockpiles booked a drop of 2.9 million barrels last week, compared with a fall of 800,000 barrels in the previous week. In fact, Saudi Arabia's oil minister said that he sees global supply reaching the five-year average by the end of the year.
  • Squad video of Castile shooting expected to be made public

    Squad video of Castile shooting expected to be made public

    After Yanez reached Castile's driver's side window, roughly 30 seconds passed before Yanez fired his weapon. The officer testified that Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so.
    Square Enix's Life Is Strange Spin-off Prequel Announced At E3 2017

    Square Enix's Life Is Strange Spin-off Prequel Announced At E3 2017

    The original Life is unusual was a graphic episodic adventure game developed by Square Enix , and was critically acclaimed. Given the trailer's tone and theme, we think they've nailed the same feel regardless.
    PM Nawaz speaks at SCO Summit Astana

    PM Nawaz speaks at SCO Summit Astana

    The SCO is comprised of China, Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as full members. He further said that Islamabad is not unfamiliar with the working of the SCO but, it has a lot to learn.

CONNECT