Supreme Court rejects Republican bid to block Maryland electoral district

Frederick Owens
June 23, 2018

After all, the court decided not to decide - refusing to even consider the question as to whether maps drawn by Democrats in Maryland and Republicans in Wisconsin were unfairly drawn. Instead, it sent the case back to the lower court to allow the plaintiffs another swipe at proving the political boundaries had diminished their vote. University of Chicago elections expert Nicholas Stephanopoulos, who devised the mathematical formula for testing gerrymanders that the Supreme Court rejected yesterday, said he believes the Wisconsin plaintiffs will be able to successfully navigate the hoops set up by the decision. The court ruled that the plaintiffs didn't have standing to sue because they failed to prove they were injured by the maps.

Using Nate's Democratic program, the Democrats could draw districts that - even in a year in which voters shifted Republican and all swing districts went Republican - would leave Democrats likely to win 263 districts, thus holding Congress by an nearly as incredible 45 seats than they needed.

"But Wisconsin can still write the law". "This Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences". In Wisconsin, meanwhile, Republicans are accused of drafting the legislative map to unfairly favor their party. "To the extent the plaintiffs' alleged harm is the dilution of their votes, that injury is district specific", Roberts wrote.

After the Supreme Court sidestepped a big decision on two partisan gerrymandering case, some are pointing to North Carolina's case as potentially "very important".

This had always been a weakness of the Wisconsin challenge, and the plaintiffs knew it.

Yet the Supreme Court took a supreme punt in both cases, refusing to decide the merits of either one. His organization filed a Friends of the Court brief in the cases.

Referring to the claim directly before the court, she said, to demonstrate individual harm "a Democratic plaintiff living in a 75% Democratic district could prove she was packed by presenting a different map, drawn without a focus on a partisan advantage, that would place her in a 60% Democratic district".

The unanimous outcome was unexpected because the justices appeared deeply divided about how to handle partisan districting cases. But there are gaps in the Efficiency Gap.

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"Americans should redouble their efforts to fix the redistricting process before the next national redistricting in 2021 - ensuring states draw fair maps that give voters a choice", Li of the Brennan Center stated.

That meant, Roberts wrote, that the plaintiff could not pursue a claim that his voting power within his district had been diminished by the current voting map. Tar Heel State politicians also approved one of the most-draconian voter ID laws in the U.S.

"The difficulty for standing purposes is that these calculations are an average measure", Chief Justice Roberts wrote. That's what they must do, before expanding their argument to the impact of the gerrymandered legislature.

"This Court has explicitly recognized the relevance of such statewide evidence in addressing racial gerrymandering claims of a district-specific nature", Kagan wrote in reference to the court's decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama (2015).

Jeff Raines from Change Illinois said the nation's high court kicked the can down the road on the issue of gerrymandering. That unanimity, though, tells only half the story.

But both cases will continue in lower courts as more challenges from states including OH and North Carolina make their way through the courts, all but ensuring the nation's highest court will get another crack to lay down a standard to determine when political gerrymandering runs afoul of the Constitution.

That was not the end of the matter for Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom line - the Supreme Court decided very little. Supreme Court to avoid intervening on some contentious issues - so that state and federal lawmakers who are directly answerable to the public can take the lead in setting policy - makes plenty of sense. "Failure of political will does not justify unconstitutional remedies". 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 unsafe precedent of both National Parties putting all their money into a few State Supreme Court races to determine who then takes over legislatures. The good news is the same computer programs that enabled partisans to draw ridiculous districts that leave voters hours from their "representatives" can just as easily create the districts that revitalize our democracy. These attempts to change the rules of redistricting are just another round of the same game.

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