Supreme Court Backs Partisan Voting Maps, Opening Path for More

Saturday, 29 Jun, 2019

Roberts highlighted these efforts as well as state-level legal challenges that have curbed gerrymandering based on state constitutions, such as in Pennsylvania and Florida.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 ruling, joined by the court's four liberals, that will make it hard for the Trump administration to add the query even if officials offer a new explanation for its need, with the clock ticking toward the deadline for printing the census forms. "But we have no commission to allocate political power and influence in the absence of a constitutional directive or legal standards to guide us in the exercise of such authority".

Roberts wrote that "Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust".

"We have swing votes but no longer a swing voter", Feldman said. Democratic cities and states who oppose adding it argue that they'd get less federal money and fewer representatives in Congress if the question is asked because it would discourage the participation of minorities, primarily Hispanics, who tend to support Democrats. The Justices had before them two cases of egregious district drawing - one from Republicans in North Carolina and one from Democrats in Maryland.

"Voters elect individual candidates in individual districts, and their selections depend on the issues that matter to them, the quality of the candidates, the tone of the candidates' campaigns, the performance of an incumbent, national events or local issues that drive voter turn-out, and other considerations". They still control the entire government in 22 states, compared with just 14 for Democrats.

The NDRC additionally sent out a fundraising email Thursday afternoon saying that the decision will allow lawmakers to "effectively continue to manipulate maps" without federal courts intervening.

The U.S. Supreme Court's gerrymandering decision dealt a blow to liberal activist groups, including one founded by former attorney general Eric Holder and backed by President Barack Obama.

"And so the five-Justice conservative majority holds that gerrymandering won't be policed by the courts", Fishkin says.

Kavanaugh, through a court spokeswoman, declined to comment on his first term.

"Technology is both a threat and a promise", Kennedy has written in a prior case, noting that with the advent of computer technology, the temptation to leverage partisan advantage would "only grow" - unless constrained by the courts.

Speaking to Brewbound, Art DeCelle, counsel for law firm McDermott Will & Emery, said additional challenges could be coming in state's with similar laws.

Hofeller, who has since died, wrote that using "citizen voting age" population as the redistricting population base would be "advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites". But when the Supreme Court threw out the Wisconsin ruling on procedural grounds that did not address the partisan gerrymandering claims, the justices also ordered a new look at the North Carolina case. The court recently voted to uphold Virginia's uranium mining ban, ruling that the federal Atomic Energy Act did not override the state's ban on mining, and thus maintaining the idea of state sovereignty.

Chi Nguyen, co-chair of the Oregon Complete Count Committee and vice chair of the Coalition of Communities of Color, says she's glad the Supreme Court made the decision now because it removes the "fear, something that was used to weaponize the census away from being what it should have been all about, which is a fair and accurate and safe account of our population".

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion for the court that states have considerable power to regulate the sale of alcohol, but they can't discriminate against out-of-state interests.

In Maryland, Democrats controlled redistricting and sought to flip one district that had been represented by a Republican for 20 years.

In dissent, Justice Neil Gorsuch reached for history and disagreed with the court's conclusion.