The Supreme Court Isn’t Done With Gerrymandering Yet

SCOTUS Punts on Two Gerrymandering Cases

"But our cases to date have not found that this presents an individual and personal injury of the kind required" by the Constitution. "This Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences". Instead, Chief Justice John Roberts sent the question back to the lower courts to allow for further consideration. Whitford, the justices held unanimously that the plaintiffs had failed to show that their individual votes had been impaired.

Thankfully, in a concurrence that recognized the "evils of gerrymandering", Justice Elena Kagan laid out two paths for a successful challenge.

"[At the time, we'd] had two elections under what I think is a clearly unconstitutional apportionment already that I think gives the Democrats no chance of getting a majority", Whitford told reporters after the Supreme Court's ruling on Monday. "We express no view on the merits of the plaintiffs" case.

"The balance of equities and the public interest tilted against their request for a preliminary injunction", the court wrote. Kathay Feng, national redistricting director at Common Cause, said the court could require challengers to wait a few elections to show that one party had obtained a durable advantage.

But both cases will continue in lower courts as more challenges from states including OH and North Carolina make their way through the courts, all but ensuring the nation's highest court will get another crack to lay down a standard to determine when political gerrymandering runs afoul of the Constitution.

Stanford law professor Nathaniel Persily, who has been hired by courts to consult on the drawing of legislative maps, noted that current computer technology and data predictions are more useful than ever before, and aid in making "sure that your gerrymander is insulated against political shifts".

The Wisconsin case included four plaintiffs who argued that their votes had been diluted by "the manipulation of district boundaries" in the Republican-drawn state legislative district maps. In 2012, the first election with the new map in place, Republicans won 60 of 99 Assembly seats with just 48.6 percent of the statewide vote. To recap, the state went Republican for the first time since 1984, and Hillary Clinton caught heat for not campaigning in Wisconsin at all during the general election.

The claims: Racial and partisan gerrymandering. "Today, Republicans control 26 state legislatures, Democrats 17, and five have split control". Courts-and in particular this court-will again be called on to redress extreme partisan gerrymanders. These attempts to change the rules of redistricting are just another round of the same game.

We took up the gerrymandering question in a March 2017 fact check. Ted Budd's bid for a second term in a district wedged between Winston-Salem and Charlotte, and Dan McCready, a solar energy entrepreneur and Marine veteran running against a former Baptist pastor, Mark Harris, who ousted Rep.

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Wisconsin Democrats issued a statement via Twitter in response to the Supreme Court, vowing to continue their fight in face of the decision. That means extreme partisan gerrymandering will end the day the way it began: in legal purgatory.

That means that, if challenges can only be brought district-by-district, it "becomes hard for plaintiffs to win" in cases challenging partisan gerrymanders. But as a result of Monday's technical resolutions, both states' maps will be intact for the 2018 elections, and the status quo remains.

Justice Samuel Alito Jr. was skeptical of the efficiency gap test and suggested the social science was too new for the court to intervene at this point. "And that was admitting it was a partisan gerrymander", he said. Some justices in the past have said the courts have no role in the process; it is between voters and their representatives. State Senate: 35 Republicans, 15 Democrats.

In its ruling, the high court did leave a door open for further review of this common practice by both political parties.

Hasen added, "This was really the golden opportunity for him to decide these cases". "Cases around the country - including our challenge to Ohio's gerrymandered congressional map - will remain ongoing to ensure that voters' voices are heard".

In the long run, he said, "we're going to see this as really the dam breaking and an extraordinary opportunity to clean up the unfairness of our political system". In the Maryland case, the court merely issued a per curiam (unsigned) order sending the matter back to a lower court.

The lower court concluded that the districting plans were drawn to eliminate swing districts and create ones favorable to Republicans.

Michael Kimberly, partner in Mayer Brown, represented the Benisek challengers.

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