Redistricting lawsuit may be too late for 2018

Redistricting lawsuit may be too late for 2018

Jason Tochinsky, a lawyer for legislative Republican leaders who are among the defendants, said the case could be affected by how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a challenge to Wisconsin's legislative districts, argued on Tuesday.

At the Supreme Court, both sides aimed their arguments-as so often happens these days-at Anthony Kennedy, the perpetual swing vote, poised between a quartet of liberals, who are probably more eager to invalidate Wisconsin's map than the court's four conservative justices are. 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.

"As this case illustrates, it's now possible even in a 50/50 state like Wisconsin to draw a district map that is so reliably and extremely biased that it effectively decides in advance who's going to control the legislative body for the entire decade..." Roberts said if the court made a decision to set a standard for saying certain cases of gerrymandering are unconstitutional, it would invite a flood of lawsuits to the Supreme Court and weaken the court's reputation.

For example, the 7th Congressional District - which some say looks like Goofy kicking Donald Duck in the backside - was redrawn by Republicans in Harrisburg to include seven heavily Republican municipalities in eastern Lancaster County that were previously in the 16th District.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg invoked this history when she asked the attorney for the employers whether forced arbitration agreements are simply "yellow dog" contracts by another name.

We hope the Supreme Court rules in favor of fair redistricting.

And they've since won 13 out of 18 congressional seats, even though registered Democrats out number registered Republicans by more than 800,000 voters statewide.

Few if any of these maps provide the Republicans the firewall against a Democratic electorate that the Wisconsin district map does.

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The stakes of this case can not be overstated - when the Supreme Court makes a ruling of such significance, it is very unlikely to overturn it in the near future.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. expressed concern Tuesday that the Supreme Court could risk its reputation if it allowed courts to decide partisan gerrymandering cases with a complex formula, since "an intelligent man on the street" is going to say the justices preferred one party over the other.

"The court recognizes that these are justicable claims, but the court is going to issue an order at some point and when that order comes out, at that time we'll comment on the order, but not before", Gersch said.

It may seem gerrymandering can give a party control of the legislature, but what sort of results does that guarantee? What becomes of the precious right to vote? It would have been nice to check Toobin's impression against an audio recording of the argument, but that won't be available until Friday, consistent with the court's usual practice. Roberts turned down a request for live audio of the argument.

" A federal court struck down the plan previous year, agreeing with the plaintiffs that it violated the Constitution because it was the product of partisan gerrymandering - that is, the practice of purposely drawing district lines to favor one party and put another at a disadvantage". But he also found that Wisconsin's map gerrymandered far beyond expectations. While other judges worry about the competence of their peers to make tough calls, Kennedy has a reverence for the work of jurists, and he trusts them to get things right most of the time.

It is instructive that the phrase "partisan gerrymandering" - the drawing of district lines by one party to disadvantage the other - is a redundancy. Supreme Court Wednesday where justices pondered a ruling that could eventually wreak havoc on Congress and state legislatures across the country. The court now has a 5-4 conservative majority with President Donald Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, on the bench.

At one point, Ginsburg asked, "what's really behind all of this?" and anxious about the "precious right to vote". "What's this court supposed to do, a pinch of this, a pinch of that?"

Judge Pelligrini is expected to issue a decision about the stay before the end of the month.