Justices side with government in property rights case

Though states like Nevada and Arizona did not have a direct interest in the Murrs' ability to sell their vacant land, they saw the case as having important implications for conflicts over federal lands. For example, the plan ensured that districts consisted of contiguous territory, were as compact as possible, and respected political subdivisions like counties and cities.

Lower courts agreed with the government interpretation and the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the court rulings.

"Politicians shouldn't be picking the voters", Zuckett said. But starting in the early 1960s, the Supreme Court ignored that warning.

Seventeen-odd years later, Democrats are pressing a case whose essential premise is that the Supreme Court can and should be trusted to write a whole new category of rules affecting nearly every state legislative and congressional election in the United States.

An Associated Press analysis shows North Carolina's congressional and state House districts are among the most Republican-skewed in the country despite voter preferences that are relatively evenly split.

He's also sided with the right side of the bench on issues such as gun control and voting rights. Kennedy stated in Vieth that partisan symmetry may not be a sufficient test to adjudicate politically motivated redistricting, but he seemed, according to Stephanopoulos and McGhee, open to being convinced. "It just looks at the most environmentally sensitive part, and restricts your use of that piece".

The Supreme Court has already ruled that districts cannot be drawn based on racial reasons.

The Supreme Court today came down with opinions in two cases in which Cato filed a brief.

Since then, a three-judge federal district court panel ruled that Republicans overstepped, concluding that the map "was created to make it more hard for Democrats, compared to Republicans, to translate their votes into seats".

A solution would be to remove the political factor in the decision, he said.

The biggest news of all, though, would be if Justice Anthony Kennedy were to use the court's last public session on Monday to announce his retirement. But that is virtually an impossible task. Redistricting, a power assigned to the legislative branch, could effectively become a judicial enterprise.

Paul Smith, a Washington lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center who represents a dozen Democratic voters in Wisconsin, said partisan gerrymandering "is worse now that any time in recent memory". Computer programs using vast data banks describing sociological, ethnic, economic, religious and political characteristics of the electorate determine districts - often of incredibly weird contours - that favor the party that drew the maps.

In 2004, Murr and her siblings sought to sell one of two parcels of land that had been in the family for decades. It is believed that the votes of five Justices are needed for a reargument. The authors considered "wasted" votes to be either those that were cast for a losing candidate or for a winning candidate in excess of what was required for victory.

This dubious theory has so many problems, it is hard to understand how a federal court could possibly give it any credence. Trying to draw districts that ignore these residential patterns to meet the "Efficiency Gap" test would result in even more bizarrely drawn districts than we already get from legislators, and would make it much more hard to draw districts that are compact, contiguous, and don't cross political lines. The study is based on a formula that compares the statewide average share of each party's vote in the districts with the statewide percentage of seats it wins. Such a concept should be soundly rejected by the courts.

Cullen, a former Democratic majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate, and Schultz, a former Republican majority leader of the Wisconsin Senate, are co-chairs of the Fair Elections Project, which helped organize the Gill v. Whitford litigation.

A loss in the Wisconsin case would not likely keep the Maryland case from going forward. The efficiency gap is similar to the Supreme Court's "one person, one vote" approach.

  • Leroy Wright