Supreme Court battle over political districts unlikely to affect California's system


The justices say Monday they will decide whether Republican lawmakers drew electoral districts so out of whack with the state's political breakdown that they violated the constitutional rights of Democratic voters.

But the dozen plaintiffs - voters - said the evidence laid out in a trial in the Wisconsin case showed that "Republican legislative leaders authorized a secretive and exclusionary mapmaking process aimed at securing for their party a large advantage that would persist no matter what happened in future elections".

On Monday, the court announced that it would judge whether partisan gerrymandering, the act of redrawing the electoral map to favor one political party over the other, is constitutionally sound, theNew York Times reported.

The commission oversees redistricting for both state legislative offices and congressional districts.

"We've gotten better at gerrymandering with the aid of computers and all sorts of digitized maps and very specific information about where all the different population segments are located", King told FOX 17. In 2014, Republicans won 52 percent of the vote and increased their state assembly majority to 63 seats.

Where did the term "gerrymandering" originate?

The same was the case for some Republican-dominated districts where there wasn't a Democrat challenger in the most recent general election.

"For too long, the important task of redistricting has resembled a back-alley brawl: no rules, no referees, and no holds barred", Dan Vicuña, the national redistricting manager for Common Cause, said in a statement.

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Critics have argued the current legislative maps unfairly stack the deck for Republicans district by district, pointing to the 2016 presidential election results as an example.

"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".

Which party now benefits the most from gerrymandering? As measured by this "efficiency gap", Republicans can increase the number of the districts they control by stuffing Democratic voters into already Democratic districts. Democrats do the same, but control fewer states.

In 1986 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that if legislatures draw district boundaries along party lines, they could, in theory, be in violation of the Constitution.

The way America conducts its elections could soon be upended by a landmark Supreme Court case.

Texas has its own redistricting case, too. The court has been willing to take a position on racial gerrymandering, including in May when it upheld a decision ruling two North Carolina congressional districts were racial gerrymanders.

If the Court took the very unlikely but possible step of setting a standard to overturn partisan gerrymanders, then the implications and ramifications would be far reaching since numerous states now have partisan gerrymanders similar to Wisconsin's. The Supreme Court has never struck down districts because of partisan advantage.

The issue centers on whether a party in power can redraw election districts in such a way that a minority party's First Amendment rights and the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection are violated.