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SCOTUS Gerrymandering Decision Not Likely Soon

by Countable | 3.29.18

What’s the story?

Opponents of partisan gerrymandering were hoping a landmark case out of Wisconsin would finally offer a clear and unequivocal measure, allowing to Supreme Court to finally rule against the practice. Then they hoped the addition of a case out of North Carolina, and another out of Maryland, would increase the likelihood of a decision. But, so far, none have brought consensus to the nation’s highest court.

The Wisconsin case, Gil v. Whitford, was argued in front of the court in October 2017. A final ruling is expected in July of this year. That case offered what many believed was an objective measure for assessing whether a district map had been manipulated enough to favor one party over another to be legally considered a partisan gerrymander.

But members of the Court seemed resistant to using the formula proposed as a legal measure.

Opponents hoped the Court would agree to also hear a gerrymandering case out of Maryland, Benisek v. Lamore, at the same time, but the court delayed that hearing until Wednesday. That case focuses on the way the Democratic-skewed map restricts free speech. But, again, reports the Wall Street Journal, the justices did not approach a clear consensus.

The North Carolina case is on hold currently with the court, pending the resolution of the two other cases.

Justice Stephen Breyer has proposed scheduling a new hearing to wrangle over all three cases together, in order to clearly illuminate all the different theories at the same time. There is no word yet on that idea.

Assuming no new hearing is scheduled, a decision in the Maryland case is also expected by July of this year, which would not allow any changes as a result to be instituted before the 2018 midterm elections.

What do you think?

Are you hoping the Supreme Court will reach a consensus that prohibits partisan gerrymandering? Do you think math or free speech is the answer? Do you have another answer not offered by these cases?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Creative Commons)

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