Supreme Court to hear partisan gerrymandering case


"We are encouraged by the decision by the Supreme Court to hear Wisconsin's appeal of Gill v. Whitford and grant a stay of the lower court's order".

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"The stay is particularly important because it preserves the Legislature's time, effort, and resources while this case is pending".

Common Cause and the League of Women Voters have filed separate lawsuits challenging the new maps as partisan gerrymanders, using some of the same legal arguments threaded throughout the Wisconsin case.

The Supreme Court made a decision to hear a case that will determine if gerrymandering for partisan benefit is constitutional.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker remains confident that GOP-drawn legislative district maps will survive a Supreme Court review. The case will not come up in a hearing before the Justices until their next term, starting in October.

The court's decision does not address a request by state Attorney General Brad Schimel to delay enforcement of the lower court panel order that requires new Assembly boundaries be drawn up by November 2017, before the 2018 elections.

In most states, elected officials usually redraw the district maps once a decade for electing candidates to the state legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In most states, both parties draw congressional and legislative districts to their own advantage - a challenge to a congressional plan drawn by Maryland Democrats is making its way through the courts.

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In its modern form, it is sometimes blamed for the deep partisan polarization of Congress and other legislative bodies, because modern computer science and detailed census data makes it so much easier for those in charge of drawing new maps to place individual voters into districts to make them decidedly Republican or Democratic so as to achieve unequal electoral power. Democratic voters are clustered in cities such as Milwaukee and Madison, while Republican voters are more evenly spread across the state.

And in the 2006 case of League of United Latin American Citizens vs. Perry, the court limited a ruling on the 2003 Texas congressional map to a single district, finding that the map had diluted Latino votes in the 23rd Congressional District.

Sachin Chheda (SAH'-chihn CHAY'-dah) is director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit.

Attorneys for Wisconsin voters applauded Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court took up their challenge to partisan gerrymandering.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sides with the court's liberals in major cases, could cast the decisive vote.

The justices regularly are called to invalidate state electoral maps that have been illegally drawn to reduce the influence of racial minorities by depressing the impact of their votes.

The Supreme Court has taken a look at a number of gerrymandering cases over the years.

WASHINGTON-The Supreme Court Monday agreed to consider whether there are constitutional limits to how far lawmakers can go in drawing electoral districts to maximize partisan political advantage, a case that could have profound implications for USA elections.

Editor's note: Joshua A. Douglas is a law professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law who specializes in election law, voting rights, and constitutional law. Arguments would likely be heard in the fall. Unfortunately, they too often consider partisan politics: How can the party in power follow traditional redistricting principles in a way that maximizes the seats they win in each election?