Supreme Court To Hear Partisan Gerrymandering Case

Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton Holds Election Night Event In New York City

The case, Gill v. Whitford, arises from Wisconsin.

The Campaign Legal Center brought a motion with the justices last month, asking them to affirmi a November decision by the Seventh Circuit.

Typically, the party in control of a state legislature will try to draw congressional and state legislative districts in such a way as to maximize their own odds.

A federal court in Texas is set to hear arguments on the complaints of racial gerrymandering in the state in July.

But the justices have not thrown out state electoral maps drawn simply to give one party an advantage over another.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson says the Republican governor "is confident Wisconsin's redistricting process is constitutional and is pleased to see the Supreme Court take the case".

The justices will take up Wisconsin's appeal of a lower court ruling last November that state Republican lawmakers violated the Constitution when they created state legislative districts with the partisan aim of hobbling Democrats in legislative races. Republicans in OH and Pennsylvania have done the reverse, concentrating urban voters in a few heavily Democratic districts.

In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a partisan gerrymander in Pennsylvania was constitutional and that it was not within the purview of the court to strike it down.

Critics have argued the current legislative maps unfairly stack the deck for Republicans district by district, pointing to the 2016 presidential election results as an example. It said redistricting efforts were unlawful partisan gerrymandering when they sought to entrench the party in power, and had no other legitimate justification.

Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the lawsuit on behalf of Democratic voters in Wisconsin, said later that lawyers for the voters were told that oral arguments would be scheduled for the first week of October.

In a statement issued later by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, Elias, an NDRC adviser, called the case "the latest sign that the courts remain a strong check on extreme Republican gerrymandering".

Those maps, drawn mainly in secret by Republican lawmakers, had achieved one of the clearest cases in modern political history of achieving a lasting advantage for Republican candidates, even though the state's voters are about evenly divided in their affiliation with the two major parties. It is high time for the High Court to stop politicians from drawing district lines for their own political benefit. The four liberal Justices dissented.... The Supreme Court has never struck down districts because of partisan advantage.

The Supreme Court had discussed the case at its June 8 and June 15 conferences, according to the court's docket on the case.

The federal court's decision was the first time in three decades that such a ruling had been made on a redistricting case, thereby setting the stage for a possible showdown in the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of Wisconsin legislative districts as drawn by majority Republicans in 2011.

The case will be argued in the fall.

With the separate order that split the court closely on Monday, the state legislature will now be spared the duty of working out a new map of election district for use in upcoming elections. That work is proceeding. But the court was silent on whether to delay the drawing of new state Assembly district boundaries as ordered by a lower court panel. The Constitution requires states to redo their political maps to reflect population changes identified in the once-a-decade census.

What the Republicans did is called gerrymandering, a centuries-old practice of creating legislative districts that favor one party over another.

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