Gerrymandering to Supreme Court

WHAT IT IS

  • In 2016, a U.S. District Court in Wisconsin ruled that redrawn district lines were unconstitutional, as they heavily favored Republican voters to the point of hurting Democratic voters; Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is currently appealing the case to the Supreme Court.
  • Gerrymandering = abuse by redrawing the lines in ways that benefit their (political party in power) own party.
  • Every 10 years, after each census, state governments are responsible for redrawing district lines to better represent the population.

WHY IT MATTERS

When gerrymandering occurs, whichever party is in power can eliminate competition from the opposing party in future elections and theoretically can hold onto power much longer. The process can make voters in certain areas have less impact on state and congressional elections. The Supreme Court has previously avoided ruling on the process.

  • UNCONSTITUTIONAL – “Get rid of it!”

    • A gap: Gerrymandering has caused an efficiency gap, effectively wasting votes.
  • LET THEM PLAY: “It has little impact!”

    • Values: Political parties simply weigh different values (compactness, racial representation) when redrawing the maps.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

  • If the court affirms the district court ruling that the redistricting was unconstitutional, Republicans and Democrats could flood the court system with cases.
  • Is there a better way to redistrict than have state legislatures (inheritably run by a majority political party) decide the maps?
  • Will the Supreme Court simply punt again, and avoid ruling that it is unconstitutional?