Redistricting changes headed to the ballot in several states

23 June, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Gregory Stephens
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Most election law experts seemed to think that the best vehicle for a decision in the next year or two would be a case from North Carolina now sitting on the court's docket, which the justices could hear as early as next term. Instead, it sent the cases back to lower courts for further "substantiation". Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch opposed giving them another try. Many believed the justices might use "standing" - or the legal right to bring a case - as an off ramp to avoid the merits in the case. While saying it was not spelling out what the test of dilution would be, this was the first time that the full Court had lined up behind a theory of dilution in the partisan realm. "The Court's constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it". Ted Budd's bid for a second term in a district wedged between Winston-Salem and Charlotte, and Dan McCready, a solar energy entrepreneur and Marine veteran running against a former Baptist pastor, Mark Harris, who ousted Rep. They said statewide claims can be based on the First Amendment's right of association - all in an effort to stop politicians from "degrading the nation's democracy".

Though that future did not arrive on Monday, Justice Elena Kagan predicted in a concurring opinion for Gill v. Whitford that a court ruling on partisan gerrymandering can not be far off. "There is a bipartisan body, and that - and I would argue - that's the best you can hope for is a bipartisan body".

Kagan laid out a road map for future challenges, including under a test Kennedy has proposed: that partisan redistricting schemes might be judged as punishment for voters due to their past political allegiances, which would violate the First Amendment. "And the Supreme Court on technicalities tossed these cases back to the lower court", Phillips said. Those new standards convinced the Pennsylvania state supreme court to overturn its congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, as well as a federal three-judge panel in North Carolina, which will likely head to the Supreme Court this fall. The term was named after the fifth vice president of the US and former MA governor Elbridge Gerry, who redrew the map of the state senate's voting districts to weaken the opposing party in 1810. A federal district court had allowed the current map to remain in place as it deliberated, and the Supreme Court upheld that decision.

The court could decide, as soon as the end of this month, whether to consider that case in its next term - which would immediately revive the possibility for a landmark decision that either underscores or undoes much of the embedded polarized partisanship in American elections.

Republicans hold a 64-35 majority in the Wisconsin Assembly and an 18-15 majority in the Senate. That court found that the shape of the districts could not be explained by nonpartisan reasons and that the advantage given to Republicans would be "enduring" through the decade even if Democrats outperformed Republicans at the polls.

"The plaintiffs may have an opportunity to prove concrete and particularized injuries using evidence-unlike the bulk of the evidence presented thus far", Roberts wrote.

The justices dismissed separate lawsuits from Democratic Wisconsin voters and Republican Maryland voters, who challenged the congressional maps drawn by their legislatures. A blowout win in one district means lots of "wasted" votes for the victorious party under the Efficiency Gap model, but that doesn't necessarily mean the map was created to bring about that outcome. His view seemed to leave his vote in doubt.


The idea that it's good for the U.S. But there was no consensus on how to fix the problem or whether there was a constitutional principle at stake that justified the court's intervention in map drawing, which has traditionally been left to the states.

In virtually all of those states, the governor has a vote - or a veto - on whatever map the state legislature produces following the next census in 2020 and the redistricting of the country's congressional (and state legislative) lines that follows.

The decision involved two cases.

To quote Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet, "A pox on both your houses!"

"In the process, the court "[turned] potential constitutional blockbusters into minor rulings", as Adam Liptak writes in The New York Times. Some of the maps in The Old Line State are so funky that one has been compared to a praying mantis. Even if the elections were held this past January - when anti-Trump feelings hit their peak and Democrats led by more than 13 points in Nate's generic ballot - Republicans would have held Congress and not needed to respond or adjust unpopular parts of the agenda that voters did not want.

That isn't the case everywhere. "Today, Republicans control 26 state legislatures, Democrats 17, and five have split control". The lines were redrawn in 2011-12.

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