Justice Kennedy On Hot Seat In Major Voting Rights Case

Justice Kennedy On Hot Seat In Major Voting Rights Case”

Upholding Wisconsin, for example, will benefit Republicans who continue to hold a comfortable majority in the state legislature even though Democratic candidates receive almost half the votes.

The justices are hearing arguments Tuesday in a dispute between Democratic voters and Wisconsin Republicans who drew maps that have entrenched their control of the legislature in a state that is otherwise closely divided between the parties. In 2012, they won 60 of the 99 state Assembly seats with 48.6 percent of the statewide vote, and in 2014 they won 63 seats with 52 percent of the vote.

In the lawsuit, the attorneys argue that the Republican Party used sophisticated data analysis software to gerrymander the state's congressional districts more dramatically than ever before, said Daniel Jacobson, an attorney with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Wisconsin case Tuesday.

During its questioning, the Court wrestled with the question of how to determine when a redistricting plan is excessively partisan.

Without the court's intervention, Smith said on behalf of the Democratic voters, the next round of redistricting after the 2020 census will see far more extreme partisan maps.

People waited in line for hours for a chance to view the argument on the second day of the court's term.

There was something like consensus among the justices that voting maps drawn by politicians to give advantage to their parties are an unattractive feature of American democracy.

"Control of the (Texas) House that would be the biggest change", here, University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said. This iss despite the fact that the employers' side consistently failed to address a key problem: the rules of the forum that they said everyone has to follow are not made by some neutral third party. Implementation of a minimum boundary length rule has the potential to shift political influence from the far left and far right of our political spectrum toward the center, which would better represent the preferences of the US population.

But if Kennedy, who is contemplating retirement, wants to join the court's four liberals in a landmark decision that reins in partisan gamesmanship, there remains one very sticky problem for the court to solve: How?

In a 2004 partisan gerrymander case, conservatives on the court said they thought the issue should be handled by the political branches.

"What becomes of the precious right to vote?" she asked. A straightforward way to make redistricting fairer is to enforce compactness along with the equal population rule.

It is instructive that the phrase "partisan gerrymandering" - the drawing of district lines by one party to disadvantage the other - is a redundancy.

The court has never before struck down election maps simply because they lock in an advantage for one party. They also argue it's not the job of the courts to write district lines, arguing that the challengers don't have the legal right to be in court and that the justices should decline to decide the issue and instead leave it to the political branches to decide. If the Supreme Court has previously embraced a principle of "one person, one vote", which it did all the way back in 1964, why is it that North Carolina has 10 Republican representatives out of 13 when only 50 percent of the population voted for congressional Republican candidates? Other than establishing the test of "one man, one vote" to assure uniform district sizes in its 1962 Baker v. Carr ruling and some companion cases, the high court has been noticeably, and probably wisely, reluctant to enter what Justice Felix Frankfurter called "the political thicket" by choosing to referee highly partisan political disputes.

"I think the hard issue in this case is, are there standards manageable by a court?" liberal Justice Stephen Breyer said. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals then found in favor of Murphy, leading the case to the Supreme Court. Over the summer, Ginsburg told an audience at a Duke Law school event that the Gill v. Whitford case was perhaps "the most important grant so far". As a result, the party favored by a minority of voters can attain and hold a permanent majority. The court now has its full complement of nine justices, with President Donald Trump's appointee Neil Gorsuch restoring a 5-4 conservative majority.

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