Justices seem divided in key case about partisan districts

  • Justices seem divided in key case about partisan districts

Justices seem divided in key case about partisan districts

The court previously heard arguments in the case in November 2016 when it was shorthanded, and failed to issue a ruling. Ruth Bader-Ginsburg took him down a peg in his effort to emulate Trumpian level arrogance. A federal district court ruled 2-1 previous year that those districts discriminated against Democratic voters "by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats".

"This really could set us back a century", says Matthew Finkin, a professor at the University of IL who wrote the friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the National Academy of Arbitrators in the cases being heard by the Supreme Court.

The bipartisan group of House members had wanted live audio streaming available online of Tuesday's case, where the justices weighed whether to wade in on the thorny issue of partisan gerrymandering.

This case stands out for another reason as well.

The case - Gill v. Whitford - comes from Wisconsin, where the Republicans took advantage of the political backlash in the 2010 election fueled by President Obama's health care bill.

Palisades School District Superintendent Bridget O'Connell wrote in an email to this news organization that she "is certainly interested in watching this case closely and communicating how, if any, changes will affect the Palisades community in general and students specifically".

Can federal law prevent a state from allowing gambling on college sporting events? To hold that gerrymandering is important because it allows voters to know who is in power is an offensively disingenuous argument, but speaks to the partisan and anti-democratic motivations of its proponents. But when the map is tested by an electorate that leans Democratic, its special features kick in, maintaining a healthy Republican majority against the popular headwind.

Gov. Gerry died two years later in 1814, presumably not as a effect of the original political sin attributed to him. In the 2012 Wisconsin election, Republicans won 48.6 percent of the total vote cast while obtaining 60.6 percent of the legislative seats.

Nationally, electoral experts say gerrymandering in Republican held states favors Republicans in Congress. It got worse in 2014.

Several court observers concurred that the Justices agreed gerrymandering is unconstitutional reasonably early during the argument. But Kennedy was unwilling to bar all such future claims because he thought a workable standard to measure when there is an overreliance on politics might arise down the road. A majority of the public - as well as almost half of Republicans - want the Supreme Court to strike down districts drawn to give a lopsided advantage to the party in power. After roughly an hour of oral argument this morning, the justices seemed to agree that partisan gerrymandering is, as Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged, "distasteful". For anyone who ever ignored the importance of the courts in our everyday lives - from the workplace to the polling place - the justices are poised to grab our nation's attention with a thunderclap. It must be because the Supreme Court preferred the Democrats over the Republicans. Under the Constitution, the federal courts - including the Supreme Court - have authority only to decide actual, or "live", legal disputes; that means that the cases, throughout their move through the courts, must have real substance with a claim of actual injury met by a claim that no harm was done. Conservative justices expressed doubt about whether courts should intervene in such highly political disputes, and questioned the challengers' legal standing to bring the case.

View Jeff Malet's photos from the October 3 protests and speeches in front of the Supreme Court by clicking on the photo icons below.

Unlike last term, when an evenly divided court sidestepped or deadlocked on many contentious cases, this term - following Justice Neil Gorsuch's April confirmation - the court runs headlong into controversy.

However, the 5-4 opinion included a concurrence by Justice Kennedy declaring perhaps a proper standard could be developed. They sued the state, arguing that its partisan gerrymander was so extreme that it violated their First Amendment rights to association and free speech and the "one person, one vote" principle enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment's equal-protection clause.