Gov. Walker: critics' argument in gerrymandering case 'woefully ignorant'
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 3:14
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 panel, in a 2-1 vote, found the Republican-controlled legislature enacted a plan that dilutes the voting strength of Democratic voters statewide, impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats - and no political geography of the state or other state interest explains the discriminatory effect.
By a vote of 5-4, the court also granted Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel's application for a stay in the redistricting case, Gill v. Whitford.
Four justices - only Justice Clarence Thomas remains of that group - said it was not the court's business to make such decisions. We don't know how the court will rule, but this case has the potential to return fairness to the voting process.
Because of a series of Supreme Court cases, especially one from Pennsylvania in 2004, courts have been impotent to stop this practice thus far.
"Wisconsin's gerrymander was one of the most aggressive of the decade, locking in a large and implausibly stable majority for Republicans in what is otherwise a battleground state", said Brennan Center redistricting expert Thomas Wolf.
In Wisconsin, Republican majorities draw political boundaries to favor Republicans. 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.
On Monday, the court announced that it would judge whether partisan gerrymandering, the act of redrawing the electoral map to favor one political party over the other, is constitutionally sound, theNew York Times reported.
This pattern-of one party winning a greater percentage of the districts than their statewide vote-is a similar claim to the issue of the challenged Wisconsin districts as well.
Some suggest the most extreme examples of partisan gerrymandering can be found in states like MI, where Republicans have maintained majorities in the congressional delegation and the state legislature even though Democrats tend to win more votes.
A ruling next spring could impact not just Wisconsin, but other states with similar issues, including IL.
The Supreme Court has been reluctant to tackle partisan gerrymandering and sort through arguments about whether an electoral system is rigged or, instead, a party's political advantage is due to changing attitudes and demographics.
The Supreme Court could soon decide whether the drawing of electoral districts can be too political.
Enter the Wisconsin case.
"The threat of partisan gerrymandering isn't a Democratic or Republican issue; it's an issue for all American voters", Potter told The Washington Post. Instead, legislative leaders openly boasted they would gerrymander purely along partisan lines to unfairly give Republicans maximum advantage, as Lewis is shown doing in the video below.