Supreme Court to hear Wisconsin gerrymander case

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"The courts have been very hesitant to get involved in policing how these partisan maps are drawn".

The Campaign Legal Center brought a motion with the justices last month, asking them to affirmi a November decision by the Seventh Circuit. Arguments would likely be heard in the fall. New lines for the Wisconsin State Assembly were redrawn after the change in power but those lines have been struck down by a federal court.

In 1986, the Supreme Court said that partisan gerrymandering could be challenged as a violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause if it involved "intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group and an actual discriminatory effect on that group". The court will be pressed with the responsibility of deciding if partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution. In the majority's opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia noted that partisan gerrymandering is as old as colonial America, and that ultimately, it is not for the courts to insert themselves into the political actions of legislative redistricting. "But what they've never really ruled on is how partisan those districts can be".

After winning control of the state legislature in 2010, Republicans redrew the statewide electoral map and approved the redistricting plan in 2011.

Critics of gerrymandered districts say they undermine democracy, leaving voters with little influence over who represents them.

Defenders of the Wisconsin plan argued that the election results it produced are similar to those under earlier court-drawn maps.

Both sides asked the court to expedite its decision, as the school districts need to know by August 4 what their budgets are.

However, one justice, who joined the majority's opinion, wrote that while there was no judicial standard by which to judge when a district was politically manipulated through gerrymandering, he would "not foreclose all possibility of judicial relief if some limited and precise rationale were found" to adjudicate the issue of partisan gerrymandering. In that case and again in 2006, Kennedy didn't find one.

Schimel had asked the Supreme Court to delay the drawing of new boundaries until after the court rules on the merits of the case.

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The Republicans add that the party in power typically creates districts that favor that party, and say Democrats have done the same thing in the past.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether electoral maps drawn deliberately to favor a particular political party are acceptable under the Constitution in a case that could have huge consequences for American elections. Both political parties do it when they can.

Packing many Democrats into a single district, for instance, wastes every Democratic vote beyond the bare majority needed to elect a Democratic candidate.

The generic term for the process is called redistricting.

A nonpartisan redistricting process is not only fair and impartial, it also would cost taxpayers far less than than the two million tax dollars and counting used to draw and defend the current maps. Cities do it for city council districts. What could the move mean for Texas, which is in the middle of its own legal fight over redistricting maps? In 2014, the party garnered 52 percent of the vote and 63 Assembly seats.

In most states, the redistricting process is controlled by the state legislature and the governor, which is why state elections at the beginning of each decade are so important.

La Crosse Sen. Jennifer Shilling, Wisconsin state Senate Democratic minority leader: "Regardless of the outcome in this case, we must remain committed to promoting election fairness, protecting voter rights and preserving our shared democratic values". They are not oddly shaped and do not look like a classic gerrymander.

Chief Justice John Roberts (second from right) and Justice Neil Gorsuch (center) walk down the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., last week.

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