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Supreme Court to Review Partisan Redistricting in Wisconsin Case


He said: "I am thrilled the Supreme Court has granted our request to review the redistricting decision and that Wisconsin will have an opportunity to defend its redistricting process".

Up to one-third of electoral maps in the USA could be affected by the justices' ruling, which is expected in the autumn.

Potter added that his group was "confident that when the justices see how pervasive and damaging this practice has become, the Supreme Court will adopt a clear legal standard that will ensure our democracy functions as it should".

While the Supreme Court has ruled on many aspects of the districting process - banning state legislative districts with unequal populations and banning districts meant to disenfranchise black voters - it has issued muddled opinions on the question of whether partisan gerrymanders are unconstitutional.

Democratic state Assembly leader Peter Barca says "Voters should be able to choose their representatives, not the other way around". The case, Gill v. Whitford, concerns Wisconsin's legislature and its gerrymandering efforts in 2011.

In a 2-1 ruling, the court found that the districts were drawn in order to minimize the influence of Democratic votes, and were "designed to make it more hard for Democrats, compared to Republicans, to translate their votes into seats", the majority opinion concluded. "The maps were in place and republicans gained seats in '12, '14, and '16", he said.

Wisconsin Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel welcomed the justices' decision to hear the state's appeal and called the state's redistricting process "entirely lawful and constitutional".

Democratic voters sued and claimed that the legislature's action violated their First Amendment associational rights and 14th Amendment equal protection rights.

But the Supreme Court has never found a plan unconstitutional because of partisan gerrymandering.

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But Wisconsin officials defended the legislature's work and called on the justices to undo the lower-court ruling.

Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. "The essential question is whether the court will finally accept a new standard and block partisan gerrymandering, or continue the court's stated disapproval of excessive partisan gerrymandering while never finding one to overrule", League of Women Voters president Chris Carson said. I also argued that it was likely that the lower court's decision would be eventually overturned.

The Wisconsin case sits apart from other racial gerrymandering cases, including several from North Carolina and Texas, by testing the limits of purely partisan redistricting.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal over electoral districts in Wisconsin after a lower court ruled that the state's Republican-drawn map constitutes an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander".

The case will be argued in the fall.

After Republicans won big in the 2010 midterm elections, Wisconsin's Republican leaders drew a statewide map that allowed the GOP to retain a super-majority in the state Assembly even in years when most of the voters cast ballots for Democrats.

The Supreme Court could soon decide whether the drawing of electoral districts can be too political. "In order to win the House back we have to win in districts that are gerrymandered for Republicans, so [special elections like this one are] laboratories for us to figure out what's the best way to mobilize this vote", Democratic National Committee Associate Chair Jaime Harrison told Politico.

Even justices who favor giving lawmakers discretion to draw district lines hold their noses when it comes to how they do it.

The Constitution requires states to redo their political maps to reflect population changes identified in the once-a-decade census. Computer software increasingly helps them create safe districts for their most conservative and liberal candidates, whose success invariably leads to more partisan gridlock in government.

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