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US Supreme Court takes up partisan gerrymandering case

At issue is whether Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin drew legislative districts that favored their party and were so out of whack with the state’s political breakdown that they violated the constitutional rights of Democratic voters. The court advised the panel to use the November ruling as a guide in developing a new redistricting plan.In Wisconsin, the Republican administration contends that while the state is purple in national elections, its geography favors Republicans in legislative elections.”This is a blockbuster”.It’s the high court’s first case on what’s known as partisan gerrymandering in more than a decade, and the outcome could affect elections across the country. Republicans control the majority of legislatures, and 2010 redistricting gave the GOP advantages in elections in those states. The judges ordered the state to develop new maps by November. However, the Supreme Court has made a decision to take on the controversial issue starting in October.Even as the court agreed to hear the case, the justices sent a signal they may be skeptical of the challengers’ arguments. The Assembly Minority Leader says if the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court that Wisconsin’s maps are unconstitutional, the justices’ decision will “end the awful polarization we see in both Wisconsin and across America”.Up to one-third of electoral maps in the USA could be affected by the justices’ ruling, which is expected in the autumn.Agreeing with that assessment was Rick Hasen, a professor who specializes in election law at the University of California, Irvine.The justices in a brief written order said they would review a redistricting case from Wisconsin, where a three-judge lower court a year ago invalidated a redistricting plan enacted by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature in 2011. Brian Cannon, the group’s executive director, said OneVirginia2021 filed its notice of appeal last month, and briefs from both sides are due by the end of June.The Supreme Court has sought a way to establish a standard for determining when partisan gerrymandering occurred, and it is unclear whether this Wisconsin formula will satisfy the justices.”Justice Kennedy is the big question mark here”, Douglas said.The case will be argued in the fall.After a trial previous year, the district court panel agreed, invalidating the restricting plan statewide.It comes at a time when the relatively obscure subject of reapportionment has taken on new significance, with many blaming the drawing of safely partisan seats for a polarized and gridlocked Congress. They now have their largest majorities in the state House and Senate in decades.In the Wisconsin case, a divided panel of three judges a year ago struck down the state’s 2011 state assembly maps as drawn with discriminatory intent – “to entrench the Republican party in power” for the remainder of the decade. Wisconsin Republicans played the electoral map to get similar results – “majorities” with less than 50% of the votes cast. The court said that tendency did not entirely account for how one-sided the maps are.They urged the court to overturn the lower-court ruling and throw out the claim on the grounds that redistricting is a political process, not a legal one. “They are trying to accomplish by delay what they couldn’t prove in court”.Campaign Legal Center attorney Paul Smith is the lead lawyer in the case challenging the maps.Democratic state legislative leaders say they have faith that the Supreme Court will uphold lower court rulings that found the maps unconstitutionally favored Republicans.But Walker, who signed the maps into law in 2011, argued at a stop in Wausau that Republicans had been winning legislative races not because of the maps but because “common-sense conservative reform works”, according to WSAW-TV. But it might also provide a solid tip for which way the wind is blowing within the Court in terms of the underlying issues, since this sort of injunctive relief is typically based in part on likelihood to succeed on the merits. They hold 64 of 99 seats. Unfortunately, they too often consider partisan politics: How can the party in power follow traditional redistricting principles in a way that maximizes the seats they win in each election?Ripple was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, Crabb by Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Griesbach by Republican President George W. Bush.