Supreme Court set to hear gerrymandering case

Posted October 04, 2017

"It's a fixed system - that's what gerrymandering is all about", he said. Its appropriate that it comes from Wisconsin, because that state may be the best microcosm of our broader political situation: though its closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, the states GOP has been utterly ruthless in attempting to make their control of the levers of power permanent, the will of the voters be damned.

The metrics have identified "false positives 50 percent of the time", she said.

Labor law's protections are "directed to the workplace, not the courthouse", said attorney Paul Clement, a former Solicitor General - the government's top lawyer - under GOP administrations.

This morning, the case took center stage at the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Gerrymandering today is not your father's gerrymandering", Smith said, and the statistical methods exist to suss it out.

The Supreme Court wrestled with those issues on their opening day, October 2. "With due respect to my colleagues, that's an inaccurate summary of the board's precedent", Griffin said in response to a softball question from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Allowing blatant partisan gerrymanders to stand, as a group of Republican state officials argue in a brief filed with the court, would be "devastating for our democracy".

The case concerns the map approved in 2011 for the Wisconsin Assembly. We will most likely know in June whether the Court's right flank managed to pull him back into their fold.

Courts have struck down districts as racially biased for decades, and other partisan districting lawsuits are moving through the courts in Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina. The districts are then drawn with a distinctly, often unnatural, partisan pattern.

But is this a result - in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere - of Democratic voters choosing to cluster together in cities, as some Republicans say? Using sophisticated computer modelling and thousands of alternative maps, Wisconsin Republicans mustered new lines delivering them almost two-thirds of the state Assembly seats in 2012 and 2016 despite a voting bloc comprising only about half of the electorate. "In 2014, the Republican Party received 52% of the two-party statewide vote share and won 63 assembly seats". " states where Democrats control the entire redistricting process, the districts also are gerrymandered", Hebert said.

A decision in Gill v. Whitford, 16-1161, is expected by spring. In a press release put out after the hearing, the ACLU argued, "Forcing people to languish indefinitely in detention without a hearing as they make their case to remain in the cruel and unnecessary". Its been made possible by the use of sophisticated software that can quickly and easily carve up a state so that once they have power, a party can in effect pick its voters to guarantee its hold on that power even after it loses the support of the people. This leads to extremism and polarization in politics as the majority party is assured of staying dominant, Kasich says.

Whitford is the most important case the Supreme Court has heard in years. It would open up a whole new line of attack on redistricting plans, which judges already scrutinize for racial discrimination and many other factors.

True to form, Justice Anthony Kennedy emerged as the swing vote, and he appeared to swing toward a First Amendment theory that would end extreme gerrymandering because it silences the political voice of voters in the minority party.

For a Supreme Court that guards against being perceived as political, the new term starting Monday is poised to show just how President Donald Trump and Republicans have shaped what will happen in the courtroom. Jubelirer that gerrymandering cases were "non-justiciable" meaning they had no place in Supreme Court and would not be ruled unconstitutional.

Union viability - in a case that will decide whether non-union workers who benefit from the contracts that public-sector unions negotiate with state and local governments must pay a fair-share fee.

It would be unreasonable to let voters in a different state challenge Wisconsin's congressional map, he said, and allowing voters in a single state legislative district to do the same for a statewide map would be just a problematic. The efficiency gap measures the share of votes above and below that margin- the share by either party that is essentially wasted.

Those districts also have raised eyebrows for what Li described as "wild and weird" shapes, though odd configurations alone now aren't enough evidence for a court challenge. He wrote a significant separate concurring opinion in a 2004 redistricting case, and again in 2006, making clear that he does believe some redistricting may violate the Constitution, but that no one has yet crafted a workable standard for courts to apply.

Like the other conservative justices, Kennedy questioned whether the challengers had standing to bring the claim. The courts would be inundated, they suggested.

The Court will address both procedural and substantive [questions presented, PDF] issues in this case. "I suspect that's manageable". Alito said. "Are all of the techniques ... scientific?"

The Justice Department under Trump also, for what civil rights groups say is the first time ever, sided with a party seeking exemption from nondiscrimination law.