Justices take on fight over partisan electoral maps

A Look at Iranian Newspaper Front Pages on June 18- 19dey

A Look at Iranian Newspaper Front Pages on June 18- 19dey

And so a majority of the Supreme Court has always concluded that they can't figure out a way to do it without themselves making a political judgment about how much is too much.

Among the possibilities is that the question of whether a partisan gerrymander lawsuit can even be filed is a question of whether the issue is "justiciable" - that is, capable of being decided by a court.

The court - after orders were released - issued a separate order granting Wisconsin's request to freeze the current maps until the Supreme Court hears the case next term.

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

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.

A lower court ruled that the maps were unconstitutional, and mandated the state come up with different maps by November 1.

Notably, the plaintiffs' arguments in Whitford are tailor-made to address a concern Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court's ostensible "swing" vote, raised in a 2004 opinion. State and federal legislative district boundaries are reconfigured every decade after the census so that each one holds about same number of people. Smith says the court can decide the case in time for new maps to be drawn for the 2018 fall election. Yet Democrats are more supportive of having courts rein in extreme districting plans, mainly because Republicans control more legislatures and drew districts after the 2010 census that enhanced their advantage in those states and in the House of Representatives.

A decision to uphold the ruling, on the other hand, would send courts across the United States head-first into a legal thicket, where they would be asked to glean legislative intent in district-drawing and pore over electoral maps and data to discern evidence of imbalance.

"If the court is not willing to draw a line here, it would suggest the court is unlikely ever to feel comfortable setting a limit", said Richard Pildes, an election law expert at New York University's law school.

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"Correct", responded Marc Elias, who was general counsel for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. The case could have a major impact on how district lines are drawn up nationwide.

The Wisconsin case involves the state legislature.

Indeed, even in announcing that the Court will hear the case, the justices indicated that there is still considerable support for Scalia's approach.

That formula is being challenged in an appeal by state Republican leaders. They said the federal court overstepped its bounds and judges should stay out of an inherently political exercise.

The court's five conservative justices voted to stop the redistricting process.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a joint statement that they are "encouraged" by the Supreme Court's decision to take the case and the stay in the order to re-map Assembly districts.

The higher the efficiency gap, plaintiffs say, the more dramatic the partisan gerrymander, and Wisconsin's legislative map had one of the highest efficiency gaps of any redistricting plan in the nation going back four decades.

Walker said in the end, he believes the the plan will be upheld by the US Supreme Court.

Wisconsin's partisan gerrymander - created in 2011 by legislative aides and hired consultants in a secret room in a private law office - employed the latest mapping technology to create a district plan that is one of the most extremely gerrymandered state legislative plans in the last four decades.

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