The Supreme Court and Gerrymandering

Share

The leaders' main argument is that the state court should wait for a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on a similar redistricting case out of the state of Wisconsin.

That effort will require an amendment to the state constitution, a lengthy process that involves passing the Legislature in two separate sessions prior to a voter referendum.

Ultimately, the people behind the lawsuit believe the Supreme Court gas no say over the Pennsylvania Constitution, and therefore there's no need to wait for the high court to make a decision.

On 1): My column didn't say that the efficiency gap was the only factor that the courts were being asked to look at.

In 2010, Republicans nationwide scored big wins at the polls and took full control in at least half a dozen closely divided states.

If district lines can be redrawn so that one political party always has a distinct advantage, no matter what the numbers and affiliations of overall voters in a state, the most fundamental element of a democracy - the vote - will lose much of its meaning.

The secret to advocacy before the contemporary Supreme Court is no secret: it's all about pandering to Justice Anthony Kennedy. It's that voters shouldn't be punished for associating with one party or another. But the majority of the most obnoxiously gerrymandered states - including Wisconsin, where the case of Gill v. Whitford originated - are controlled by Republicans.

Henry Flores, a St. Mary's University political scientist, said that in San Antonio, gerrymandering keeps voters who don't think their candidate has a chance to win because of the way districts are drawn away from the ballot box. If the justices rule in favor of Wisconsin's Democratic voters, which brought the case against the state's government, this would be the first time the court has struck down the practice. Incumbent politicians have used advanced computer technology to draw district lines so that the outcome of the vast majority of elections is now preordained; even Justice Samuel Alito, no friend to the plaintiff Democrats, described the current situation as "distasteful".

"The challengers seemingly agree. that a key question in the dispute now before the Supreme Court is whether there is an identifiable and manageable test for partisan gerrymandering", Howe wrote. The larger the gap between those two, the more likely the districts have been manipulated to favor Republicans.

Republicans like Malone are on the short end of the gerrymandering stick in Maryland.

Minear, counselor to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., told four House members who'd requested Tuesday's argument be live-streamed that the chief justice shares their ultimate goal of increasing public understanding of the court.

Republicans argue that the Wisconsin map reflects the fact that Democrats have packed themselves into cities, while Republicans are better distributed across the state.

Yesterday marked the first day of the United States Supreme Court's new term, and the first case heard (Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis) was one of interest to employers around the country. The case pits labor laws meant to allow workers to band together, passed as part of the New Deal in the 1930s, against an older law encouraging the use of arbitration, instead of the courts, which was passed in the 1920s. "Is this the time for us to jump into this?" he asked, suggesting the answer was no. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said he did not see anything in the Constitution that authorized the court to intervene. Roberts said if the court chose to set a standard for saying certain cases of gerrymandering are unconstitutional, it would invite a flood of lawsuits to the Supreme Court and weaken the court's reputation. "In the context of partisan gerrymandering, that means that First Amendment concerns arise where an apportionment has the objective and effect of burdening a group of voters' representational rights".

Share