Supreme Court to Review Partisan Redistricting in Wisconsin Case
07:12, Jun 20, 2017
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Similar cases are pending in North Carolina and Maryland. "We hope the Whitford case moves quickly so the maps can still be redrawn in time for a fair election to be held in 2018", wrote Sachin Cheda, spokesperson for the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit.
Smith will argue the case before the Supreme Court. "The Supreme Court has the opportunity to ensure the maps in Wisconsin are drawn fairly, and further, has the opportunity to create ground rules that safeguard every citizen's right to freely choose their representatives".
Those maps, drawn mainly in secret by Republican lawmakers, had achieved one of the clearest cases in modern political history of achieving a lasting advantage for Republican candidates, even though the state's voters are about evenly divided in their affiliation with the two major parties.
Whether you're a Democrat in Wisconsin or North Carolina or a Republican in IL or Maryland, politicians are effectively marginalizing your vote by drawing lines to keep hold of power. He previously served as the former Republican chairman of the U.S.
The state contends that while Wisconsin is a purple state in national elections, its geography favors Republicans in legislative elections. As measured by this "efficiency gap", Republicans can increase the number of the districts they control by stuffing Democratic voters into already Democratic districts. Their test, known as the "efficiency gap", focuses on how frequently votes in a particular district are effectively wasted, either because they go to a candidate who loses or because they provide the victor with more support than was necessary.
It comes at a time when the relatively obscure subject of reapportionment has taken on new significance, with many blaming the drawing of safely partisan seats for a polarized and gridlocked Congress. Democrats won 56% of the vote but 71% of the seats where they controlled the process. However, Republicans ended up receiving five out of the eight Congressional seats because of district lines in the state that had been redrawn in secret just a year earlier.
Supreme Court to decide whether partisan... Depending on the ruling, up to seven states' congressional maps could be affected - including Texas, according to Michael Li, redistricting and voting counsel at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. The four liberal Justices dissented....
Employing the latest mapping technology, they created "a district plan that is one of the most extremely gerrymandered state legislative plans in the last four decades", a statement from the Campaign Legal Centersays. "The court has never had a clear approach to partisan gerrymandering once it made a decision to start hearing these cases at all". Of course, this assumes that the Supreme Court rules on the merits of the case at all: Today's announcement also indicated that the justices would put off a decision on whether the court has jurisdiction to review the case until they hear the merits of the case.
This is the second time justices have acted on gerrymandering this year. Or does a strong democracy require meaningful checks on partisan abuses in election rules?
William Whitford, a retired law school professor, and 11 other Democrats challenged the resulting map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Here's how Shawn Johnson of Wisconsin Public Radio explained it: "The metric that they came up with they called the efficiency gap, and it measures what they call wasted votes".