Lawmakers differ sharply on Supreme Court decision

Olive Rios
June 23, 2017

"The stay is particularly important because it preserves the Legislature's time, effort, and resources while this case is pending".

In its opinion striking down the Wisconsin map, the lower court invoked the 1st Amendment and the 14th Amendment's equal protection formula in defining an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Much has already been analyzed about the Wisconsin cases that will be reviewed in next year's term of the Supreme Court, but the Old North State is certainly one that will be watching the developments.

A Supreme Court ruling faulting the Wisconsin redistricting plan could have far-reaching consequences for the redrawing of electoral districts due after the 2020 US census.

That means Wisconsin will not need to put in place a new electoral map while the justices consider the matter.

Lawyers for Wisconsin had urged the Supreme Court to summarily reverse the three-judge panel's decision even without hearing the case. He represents a dozen Democratic voters who sued Wisconsin over its electoral map for the state Assembly.

The United States Supreme Court will decide if states may draw voting districts to gain a partisan advantage. In 2016, a federal district court agreed with those Democratic voters, ruling that the state's election map had been drawn for partisan advantage. The justices have never struck down a state's electoral map because it was unfairly partisan, though they have outlawed gerrymandering along racial lines.

Sachin Chheda (SAH'-chihn CHAY'-dah) is director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit.

The nine-member high court granted Wisconsin's request, despite opposition from the four liberal justices, to put on hold the lower court's order requiring the state to redraw its electoral maps by November 1. The four liberals would have let it proceed.

Potter added that his group was "confident that when the justices see how pervasive and damaging this practice has become, the Supreme Court will adopt a clear legal standard that will ensure our democracy functions as it should".

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that states can not gerrymander districts in an effort to reduce the influence of minority voters. "In this case, a lower court held that Wisconsin had indeed crossed that line", Steve Vladeck, professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, told CNN.

We are hopeful that the decision to hear this case will be the first step in addressing the partisan gerrymandering that is now shaping the House of Representatives as well as state legislatures across the country. Arguments would likely be heard in the fall.

Republicans have more to lose in next term's case because they control state legislatures in many more states than the Democrats do, and they stand to maximize that advantage again after the 2020 census. And "that work is proceeding".

The state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that recent Wisconsin election results favoring Republicans were "a reflection of Wisconsin's natural political geography" with Democrats concentrated in urban areas like Milwaukee and Madison. They were drawn to give one political party a better chance of winning elections because the districts they created were stacked with voters in their favor.

The justices could say as early as Monday whether they will intervene. Politicians elected in each state are usually responsible for making any changes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article