Supreme Court takes up Wisconsin gerrymandering


WASHINGTON- The Supreme Court of the United States declared that it will hear arguments on Wisconsin’s gerrymandered election maps. Specifically, the case will be heard during the Supreme Court term which begins in October. This case, Whitford v. Gill, may lead to a landmark ruling. While the court has tackled issues of racially discriminatory gerrymandering, such as the recent case coming out of North Carolina, the court has not dealt with cases of partisan gerrymandering.

Wisconsin’s Republican party won 48.6 percent of the vote in the first election following the release of Wisconsin’s current maps. From their minority share of the vote, the Wisconsin GOP won 60 of the Assembly’s 99 seats. If the Supreme Court rules that partisan gerrymandering such as this is unconstitutional, then our democracy will be protected from such cases of minority rule.

Robert Barnes at The Washington Post reports:

The Supreme Court declared Monday that it will consider whether gerrymandered election maps favoring one political party over another violate the Constitution, a potentially fundamental change in the way American elections are conducted.

The justices regularly are called to invalidate state electoral maps that have been illegally drawn to reduce the influence of racial minorities by depressing the impact of their votes.

But the Supreme Court has never found a plan unconstitutional because of partisan gerrymandering. If it does, it would have a revolutionary impact on the reapportionment that comes after the 2020 election, and could come at the expense of Republicans, who control the process in the majority of states.

The court accepted a case from Wisconsin, where a divided panel of three federal judges last year ruled last year that the state’s Republican leadership in 2011 pushed through a plan so partisan that it violated the Constitution’s First Amendment and equal rights protections.

Read more at The Washington Post.


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