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Efforts to limit partisan gerrymandering falter at Supreme Court

Efforts to limit partisan gerrymandering falter at Supreme Court

The court also ruled against a challenge to a map in Wisconsin that had been contested by Democrats.

Under federal law, appeals from three-judge panels in voting cases such as North Carolina's go directly to the Supreme Court, but the justices are not obligated to give them a full review. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch opposed giving them another try.

"This Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences", Roberts declared. Perhaps most importantly, the Court's decision signals the continuing importance of other ways to fix the problem, through state courts, state constitutions, and the people themselves.

Just last week in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Supreme Court upheld Ohio's policies of purging voters from the rolls after not participating in three federal elections (and not responding to official notices mailed to their homes).

Representative Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, said a nonpartisan method of drawing district maps is essential to ensure fair elections.

Kagan added that courts have an important role to play given the harm caused by partisan gerrymandering. In 2004, Kennedy hinted that he might be willing to limit partisan gerrymandering under the First Amendment.

In any case, nobody - liberal or conservative - got the resolution on partisan gerrymandering they were looking for today.

Roberts walked a fine line in his opinion in the Wisconsin case, finding the challengers did not have the legal right to bring the case. "And the Supreme Court on technicalities tossed these cases back to the lower court", Phillips said.

One thing, though, is clear as of Monday: the 2018 elections will go forward without any new clarity from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of partisan-drawn districts. But the Supreme Court has put the lower-court decision on hold while it considers the case.

Democrats hoped a Wisconsin case would be the vehicle the US Supreme Court would use to strike down highly partisan gerrymandering of electoral maps.




Nate Silver, the numbers guru who was trashed by fellow liberals for continuing to insist Donald Trump could very easily win the presidency, lays out 8 computer models of how districts could be drawn and it is time to insist districts be drawn to force politicians to pay attention to constituents rather than advance one party over the other. In the election that followed their remap, Republicans won 60 seats in Wisconsin's 99-seat assembly despite winning just 48.6 percent of the statewide vote.

"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 U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed Republican voters in Maryland by refusing for now to block congressional district lines drawn by Democrats to maximize partisan advantage. Another 17 are split control, with one party in control of the governorship and the other with a majority in at least one of the state legislative bodies. His view seemed to leave his vote in doubt.

In Maryland, Republicans sued over a single congressional district that was redrawn in 2011, as the state's Democratic former governor said, to turn a Republican seat Democratic.

Monday's opinions, and particularly the majority and concurrence opinions issued in the Wisconsin case, gave voting rights advocates a better idea of what arguments could be successful at the high court in the future. In Pennsylvania, a state court redrew the lines for 2018, and the justices refused to intervene. It is also the goal of the Democrats who worked to elected a State Supreme Court that then replaced partisan Democratic districts instead of Republican districts - setting a risky precedent of both National Parties putting all their money into a few State Supreme Court races to determine who then takes over legislatures.

Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a professor at the University of Chicago who devised the mathematical formula that was used in the Wisconsin law, called the court's decision to remand to lower courts "a silly hoop", but one "that we are really capable of jumping through".

Over the past few decades, computer software programs have vastly improved the art of line-drawing for partisan advantage.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national organization whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices.

"The court reasonably could have concluded that a preliminary injunction would have been against the public interest, as an injunction might have worked a needlessly 'chaotic and disruptive effect upon the electoral process, '" the court wrote.

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