Justices take on fight over partisan electoral maps

Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton Holds Election Night Event In New York City

Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton Holds Election Night Event In New York City

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"The stay is particularly important because it preserves the Legislature's time, effort, and resources while this case is pending".

"The threat of partisan gerrymandering isn't a Democratic or Republican issue; it's an issue for all American voters", said Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center and former Republican Chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

"If Democratic voters are heavily concentrated in a few locations and we run elections based upon geographic districts that have to be contiguous and compact and of equal population as they do - and as they were, in these maps drawn by the Republican Legislature in 2011 - then of course it would be hard for Democrats - maybe even impossible for Democrats - to ever take control of the Legislature". Depending on the ruling, up to seven states' congressional maps could be affected - including Texas, according to Michael Li, redistricting and voting counsel at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice.

"I am thrilled the Supreme Court has granted our request to review the redistricting decision and that Wisconsin will have an opportunity to defend its redistricting process", said Wisconsin Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, adding that the state's redistricting process was lawful and constitutional.

Democratic state Assembly leader Peter Barca says "Voters should be able to choose their representatives, not the other way around".

A federal court ruled in Wisconsin that Republican lawmakers had violated the US Constitution's equal protection under the law and free speech clauses.

In 2014 and 2016, Republicans extended their advantage to 63 and 64 seats, respectively, even though the statewide vote remained almost tied. The Republican National Committee and a dozen large Republican states have asked the court to reverse the Wisconsin decision.

Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit on behalf of Democratic voters in Wisconsin, said later that lawyers for the voters were told that oral arguments would be scheduled for the first week of October.

In that case, Kennedy voted to uphold disputed congressional districts in Pennsylvania, saying the challengers hadn't provided a workable standard for determining whether partisanship played too big a role. The four liberals would have let it proceed.

The Supreme Court is unlikely to decide the Wisconsin case before early next year.

The state appealed to the supreme court, arguing that recent election results favoring Republicans were "a reflection of Wisconsin's natural political geography", with Democrats concentrated in urban areas including Milwaukee and Madison.

The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a closely watched challenge to partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin and decide whether it is unconstitutional for party leaders to entrench themselves in power with carefully drawn electoral maps. This isn't the first time that the Supreme Court is hearing a case on political gerrymandering, but all prior attempts failed to yield a precedent.

The case will be argued in the fall.

With the separate order that split the court closely on Monday, the state legislature will now be spared the duty of working out a new map of election district for use in upcoming elections. That work is proceeding. But the high court could ultimately establish a new limit on the role politics plays into redistricting.

In striking down that plan, the lower court had concluded that it was developed in a way that the Republicans would continue to win the most seats in the assembly until there is a new census and the drawing of new maps.

The Supreme Court is taking on a case about partisan advantage in redistricting that could affect elections across the United States.

Even justices who favor giving lawmakers discretion to draw district lines hold their noses when it comes to how they do it.

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