5 things to know as the Supreme Court takes up redistricting

5 things to know as the Supreme Court takes up redistricting

5 things to know as the Supreme Court takes up redistricting

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared divided over whether to issue a ruling that would curb the ability of politicians to draw electoral districts purely on partisan lines in a major voting rights case out of Wisconsin. A federal appellate court ruling said a Republican-drawn map in Texas discriminated against minority voters, but the Supreme Court declined to force the state to redraw its districts before the upcoming 2018 elections.

Legislative and congressional district lines in the USA get redrawn every 10 years, after each census. In one analysis, Democrats captured far fewer state Assembly seats even when they won roughly the same percentage of the statewide vote as Republicans. We will most likely know in June whether the Court's right flank managed to pull him back into their fold.

A group of 12 Democratic plaintiffs from around Wisconsin filed a lawsuit challenging the maps as an unconstitutional political gerrymander.

A dissenting judge said the plaintiffs' case sought to require Republicans "to engage in heroic levels of nonpartisan statesmanship".

The Supreme Court has previously held that undocumented immigrants are entitled to some form of due process when contesting their detention but also that "brief" detentions were allowed. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to defend the indefensible - politically motivated, gerrymandered districts that divide communities, polarize our politics, and protect incumbents from legitimate electoral challenges. But it also presents a steep challenge for the justices, who have been hesitant to referee the political process so directly.

Democrats hope that the nation's high court will set guidelines that would bar an overreliance on politics in the map-making process. Five of the court's justices have joined since the Vieth case, making their views on the issue more hard to gauge.

Did GOP go too far?

Though it is up in the air how deeply the Court will cut into the practice of partisan gerrymandering, a smart gambler would bet on Wisconsin's maps going down.

Other conservative justices who asked questions had similar worries about exactly how the court could make such evaluations. The proposal is a direct response to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in 2004 said he would be open to declaring partisan gerrymanders unconstitutional if a workable standard for identifying them could be devised.

But Murphy and Tseytlin told the justices that disparities in political representation among legislative districts can be explained a number of ways, including choices made by voters of where to live, and that using a statistical test would result in more legal challenges across the country - challenges not only to the district boundaries but to the legitimacy of the statistical test.

Justice Samuel Alito seized on this point early in the argument, asking Wisconsin Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin if a Democratic voter in Milwaukee could sue a town in the northern part of the state that bans political signs supporting Democratic candidates. But he has written in previous gerrymandering cases that the court might be obligated to strike down some gerrymandered districts if challengers could show that they violated the constitutional rights of one party's voters.

Arbitration - in three cases that will determine whether employers can essentially block their employees from joining together in court to resolve employment disputes by forcing them into individual arbitration instead, even though the National Labor Relations Act protects employees' efforts to bring class actions. The state says its lawmakers considered the political implications of the new maps as one of many legitimate factors.

Districts underwent dramatic changes that broke decades of precedent: The map shifted whole counties and some of the state's larger cities into new congressional districts, and pitted two Democratic congressmen against each other to remain in Congress.

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