But the court has not ever ruled on electoral maps that have been re-drawn simply to give a political advantage to one party over another.
The Supreme Court has increasingly overturned redrawn electoral maps because they were created to reduce the influence of racial minorities, according to the Washington Post. The ruling was the first time in over three decades that a federal court invalidated a redistricting plan for partisan bias.
HARRISBURG – Standing in the rotunda of the state Capitol Thursday afternoon, Robert Smith, a Luzerne County resident, said that before the 20…
Opponents of partisan gerrymandering celebrated the court’s decision to consider the issue again. The entire goal of partisan gerrymandering is to cause your opponent to waste as as many of his votes as possible. A lower court struck down the districts as unconstitutional previous year.
HARRISBURG – The time may be ripe for the Legislature to take a crack at fixing the way districts for lawmakers are defined, said Carol Kuniho…
“As I have said before, our redistricting process was entirely lawful and constitutional, and the district court should be reversed”, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said.
In its decision, the majority in the court panel decision wrote that the Assembly district map, which was drawn in the office of a Madison law firm that often represents Republican interests, “was meant to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters.by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats”.
In deciding to hear Whitford, the Supreme Court has an opportunity to set a judicial standard for determining when partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution.
A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the case could have an immediate impact.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in 2004 that a standard for striking down partisan gerrymanders may exist.
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 long term, it would help to assure that districting as a whole would be more likely to represent the interest of the voters and the jurisdiction as a whole”.
Kennedy said he could envision a successful challenge “where a state enacts a law that has the goal and effect of subjecting a group of voters or their party to disfavored treatment”.
The challengers to the Wisconsin districts said it is an extreme example of redistricting that has led to ever-increasing polarization in American politics because so few districts are genuinely competitive between the parties.
Both parties have sought the largest partisan edge when they control redistricting.
Two of the districts approved by lawmakers in 2011 – the 1st in the northeastern part of the state and the 12th, which stretched through the Piedmont – were found to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The difference between the wasted votes of each party is then divided by the total number of votes cast. They were trying to get an advantage, and it turns out they really did get an advantage. But the court has never struck down a legislative map for strictly political reasons.
The state contends that while Wisconsin is a purple state in national elections, its geography favors Republicans in legislative elections. They argued that Democratic voters were spread so thinly across the state that it was impossible for Democratic legislative candidates to be elected and achieve a majority.
After a trial past year, the district court panel agreed, invalidating the restricting plan statewide. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said every Republican senator has been involved in one way or another in drafting the bill, and once it makes it to the Senate floor, Democrats will have the opportunity to amend the legislation.