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Supreme Court to Hear Partisan Gerrymandering Case This Fall

by Countable | 6.19.17

The Supreme Court will add a potentially landmark case concerning partisan gerrymandering to its docket for the fall. The Washington Post reports:

"The Supreme Court declared Monday that it will consider whether gerrymandered election maps favoring one political party over another violate the Constitution, a potentially fundamental change in the way American elections are conducted.”

The case in question concerns redistricting in Wisconsin, and whether the most recent changes to the state’s electoral map intentionally disadvantaged Democrats. The state’s Republican legislative leaders appealed to the court to reject any effort to remove redistricting decisions from state control in order to aid groups who didn’t gain the election outcome they wanted:

"[reject any effort that] wrests control of districting away from the state legislators to whom the state constitution assigns that task, and hands it to federal judges and opportunistic plaintiffs seeking to accomplish in court what they failed to achieve at the ballot box.”

The plaintiffs, in contrast, argue:

"Republican legislative leaders authorized a secretive and exclusionary mapmaking process aimed at securing for their party a large advantage that would persist no matter what happened in future elections."

Unlike previous partisan gerrymandering cases that have come before the Court, this one involves what plaintiffs argue is an objective method for assessing the extent of partisan gerrymandering in any given district, called the "efficiency gap." The Post defines the “efficiency gap” as “the difference between the wasted votes of the two parties in an election divided by the total number of votes cast.”

If the Court affirms the "efficiency gap" as a reasonable tool under law it could be used to reassess district maps all over the country. The case will now officially come before the Supreme Court in the fall. Their fall case schedule begins in October.

Should the Supreme Court find some way to assess partisan gerrymanders? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

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(242)
  • Joanna
    06/19/2017
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    It is absurd that voting districts are determined by whatever political party is in power. This leads to ever extreme pendulums of power with congressman that only care about their base. If university or other apolitical committees of sociologists or specialists in human geography made these determinations we might actually have government that is responsive to all the people.

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  • Patty
    06/19/2017
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    Redistricting needs to be done by a bipartisan commission in each state to not give one party or the other an advantage. Every vote should count!

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  • rsolonhamer
    06/19/2017
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    This is going to be the most important Supreme Court case of the year and possibly the decade, and the media will probably seldom mention it.

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  • Rachel
    06/19/2017
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    Extremely important case. Could be a string of hope for those who have recently lost all trust in our "democracy"

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  • Ticktock
    06/20/2017
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    I hope that the Supreme Court will follow the California Voters First Act, Proposition 11, approved by California voters on November 4, 2008. This Act removed the responsibility of drawing the States Congressional Districts from the California State Legislature and gave the responsibility to a 14-Member Citizens Commission. The US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of removing the responsibility from the State Legislature provided: 1. They comply with the Voting Rights Act; 2. They make the districts continuous; 3. Respect, to the extent possible, the integrity of cities, counties, neighborhoods, and "communities of interest"; and make the districts as compact possible. Not all of these terms are outlined in law. The California Citizen Commission redistricting maps were certified on 08/15/2011 and took effect in the 2012 election. Rather than the district being red or blue they were purple. This ended the California Legislature's gerrymandering. It's a good model for all states to follow, it's already vetted by the US Supreme Court, it has been tried and it worked!

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  • Robert
    06/20/2017
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    Voters should pick their representatives, representatives shouldn't be allowed to pick their voters.

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  • KansasTamale
    06/19/2017
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    The Supreme Court MUST be NON-PARTISAN in this case. The GOP along with the help of the Koch Bros have consistently changed the voting districts to unrecognizable jigsaw puzzle pieces. In my town there are 2 senators Moran & Roberts. How in the world is that possible. With money the dog can dance. With Koch money the GOP can adjust the voting districts so that only Republicans can get voted into office. These districts need to reverse to the pre Gerrymandering ones or draw new square districts and not allow any changes to be made ever.

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  • NarcissistandIvote
    06/19/2017
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    I think this is an extremely important decision the Supreme Court is deliberating and it's potential impact upon restoring American faith and belief in our Democracy. I'd be grateful if my representatives did what they could to let their constituents know that this is taking place and encourage media attention upon this landmark decision

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  • Melanie
    06/19/2017
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    For presidential elections, we should dump the Electoral College. He who gets the most votes, wins. Bit of a problem for Congress. Problem here in Tx as well. Doesn't matter much here as the state is too red. There must be a way to draw districts fairly. It is too easy for the majority party to stack the deck. This is a democracy and these underhanded tactics by either party is an insult to democracy.

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  • Richard
    06/20/2017
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    It's about time! These lines are so obviously partisan that it's hard to believe it's been legal for so long.

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  • Matthew
    06/19/2017
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    This is a very important case and common sense tells us that gerrymandering is wrong but we don't live in a world with common sense anymore. We live in a US dictated by an idiot. So yes, I am worried the Supreme Court will screw voters over . . . Again (Remember Citizens United)!

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  • cjsmellie
    06/20/2017
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    Gerrymandering should not help or hurt either party, that is anti democracy

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  • Judy
    06/20/2017
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    If the gerrymandering can be made partisan neutral, we can overturn Citizens United and get rid of discriminatory voting regulations deliberately implemented for the purpose of restricting voter participation we can have our democracy back again. Pretty sure that's how it's supposed to be.

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  • Cindy
    06/19/2017
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    As far as I can see this is one of three changes that must be resolved in order for citizens to take back our government. The others - finding a way to amend the Supreme Court decision that ultimately has led to the development of Super Pacs and big money that fund and influence those people who are elected and third, term limits for our elected officials.

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  • Laura
    06/20/2017
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    Gerrymandering is one more way they screw us over. Heaven forbid they should win their seats legitimately, and govern us fairly. Crooks and liars. Republicans.

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  • Nan
    06/19/2017
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    Yes. I hope the Supreme Court makes the right decision and until this process. Districts should be broken up fairly and stop giving the republicans an advantage.

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  • Kathryn
    06/19/2017
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    Hope for no more gerrymandering.

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  • Sue
    06/20/2017
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    District lines should be determined by the census. I read that P. Trump was going to fire or dismantle the census Dept. Most people don't even know the meaning of gerrymandering. In the early days of USA the dishonest politicians tried this, but were foiled by laws enacted. Now 200 plus years later are we going to let this happen?!?!

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  • Adam
    06/20/2017
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    Gerrymandering has given an unfair advantage to the failing Republican Party. It's one of the few reasons that Trump is our president.

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  • Linda
    06/20/2017
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    Excellent! It's about time someone does something about this shady practice, no matter the party districts should be represented properly

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