Supreme Court picks up redistricting case, Walker reacts

Now that the case is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, state Attorney General Brad Schimel says he's thrilled.

The Wisconsin case might serve as a landmark decision if the court rules against partisan districting.

It will be the high court's first case in more than a decade on what's known as partisan gerrymandering.

Election results since then have shown the redistricting had its intended effect, with the GOP winning a larger majority in the state assembly, even as the statewide tally of votes was almost even between Republicans and Democrats, the lower court said.

In other words, just as Republicans can't win the popular vote in presidential elections, they can't win the popular vote in other elections. Conservative justices want to hear the case as a way to correct an error, while liberals see it as their last best chance to tee up a landmark constitutional case on redistricting while Anthony Kennedy is still on the Court. If it does, it would have a revolutionary impact on the reapportionment that comes after the 2020 election, and could come at the expense of Republicans, who control the process in the majority of states.

Yet Democrats are more supportive of having courts rein in extreme districting plans, mainly because Republicans control more legislatures and drew districts after the 2010 census that enhanced their advantage in those states and in the House of Representatives.

The justices won't hear the arguments until the fall, but the case has already taken on a distinctly ideological, if not partisan, tone.

In the past, the court has struck down election maps as racial gerrymanders that disadvantaged minority voters.

The justices will review a November ruling that the Republican-led legislature's redrawing of state legislative districts in 2011 amounted to "an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander", a term meaning manipulating electoral boundaries for an unfair political advantage.

The same was the case for some Republican-dominated districts where there wasn't a Democrat challenger in the most recent general election. He said on Monday that Wisconsin's "redistricting process was entirely lawful and constitutional, and the district court should be reversed".

Congressional districts are redrawn by state legislatures. The case could reshape USA politics.

Packing many Democrats into a single district, for instance, wastes every Democratic vote beyond the bare majority needed to elect a Democratic candidate. In fact, part of Texas' argument claims redistricting was indeed based on partisanship - something courts have allowed in the past. It said the constitution has been violated if the new districts are "intended to to place a severe impediment on the effectiveness of the votes of individual citizens on the basis of their political affiliation", "has that effect" and "cannot be justified on other, legitimate legislative grounds".

Do we want a democracy in which politicians (of any party) can virtually assure their re-election and continued dominance in a state simply because of the way that they draw the maps? I've said all along, I think it'll be upheld in the court.

The SCOTUS will decide whether Democratic voters in Wisconsin have a case.

Under the Wisconsin redistricting plan, Republicans were able to amplify their voting power, gaining more seats than their percentage of the statewide vote would suggest.

  • Leroy Wright