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US Supreme Court examines partisan gerrymandering

US Supreme Court examines partisan gerrymandering”

The Supreme Court has officially agreed to hear a case with the potential to put firm limits on partisan gerrymandering - and dramatically change the way states draw legislative boundaries.

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.

Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear this case. But while Wisconsin has veered in both directions, and then into near deadlock, the GOP hammerlock on the state legislature has not budged.

Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit: "We've already had two federal courts declare the map unconstitutional in part or whole". "If your argument is the maps are unfair, it should only happen once", he said. He said he doesn't believe the court will rule until possibly the middle of 2018.

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.

This is the first time in more than ten years that the justices will consider allegations of gerrymandering - and observers see the their final ruling as one which impact how elections are run throughout the nation.

Plaintiff Bill Whitford: "This is a kind of apportionment scheme that simply denies Wisconsin residents democracy". Even former President Barack Obama has vowed to fight against the practice's misuses and abuses during his post-presidency, though the Supreme Court of the United States may beat him to the punch.

The Campaign Legal Center brought a motion with the justices last month, asking them to affirmi a November decision by the Seventh Circuit. So across the state, Republicans wasted only 27 votes, while forcing Democrats to waste 120. "They are trying to accomplish by delay what they couldn't prove in court".

"As I have said before, our redistricting process was entirely lawful and constitutional, and the district court should be reversed", Schimel said.

The case involves district lines in Wisconsin that challengers say were drawn unconstitutionally to benefit Republicans.

The case could have sweeping implications for other states where redistricting conflicts are not yet settled in the courts, including North Carolina.

That was evident past year in North Carolina, when state lawmakers were ordered by a federal court to redraw the state's racially gerrymandered congressional districts. That weakened African-American voting strength elsewhere in the state, the court said.

In Wisconsin in 2011, legislative aides and consultants hired by the Republican majority in the legislature worked in a secret room in a private law firm, hidden from the public and the press, to manipulate the state assembly district lines in an effort to ensure Republican control for the next decade, irrespective of the will of voters. "In the long term, it would help to assure that districting as a whole would be more likely to represent the interest of the voters and the jurisdiction as a whole". The court has ruled similarly on Virginia and Alabama racial redistricting plans. "It is clear that the drafters got what they meant to get". Wisconsin Republicans had ratfucked the maps with such mathematical precision that Democratic votes were basically useless.

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. They say Democratic voters are concentrated in the cities, giving the GOP a big edge elsewhere.

The Wisconsin federal court used a new standard to evaluate whether gerrymandering is so partisan that it violates the Equal Protection Clause.



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