Justices seem divided in key case about partisan districts


And in Maryland, Republicans claim the state's Democratic legislature gerrymandered their rights away in the rural sixth congressional district.

Republicans now represent 13 of 18 congressional districts in Pennsylvania, despite winning about half the statewide votes in the past three elections.

The latest Economist/YouGov Poll suggests that both parties think this is wrong.

The gerrymandering case at hand, Gill v. Whitford, involves a 2011 redistricting of Wisconsin's legislature that cemented Republican control in that state and was subsequently struck down by a federal court previous year.

The case comes to the Supreme Court after a three-judge panel, in a 2-1 vote, struck down Wisconsin's map using a mechanism known as the "efficiency gap" - which expresses with a number the systematic advantage given to a political party. The court held again in the 2004 case Vieth v. Jubelirer that it simply can not rule on gerrymandering because there is simply no fair, practical way for the court to resolve these questions. "It is likely to be viewed as a partisan court going forward much more, now that all the liberals on the Court were appointed by Democratic presidents and all the conservatives by Republican presidents". But it turns out at least one justice on the current Court may be more open to cannabis rulings.

If they rule in favor of the plaintiffs, it could mean we would see new district maps for the 2018 election, depending on when we get a ruling.

That is a question the Justices probably will take up when they meet in a private conference Friday, to discuss new filings just made in two pending cases, putting the fate of those cases in doubt.

Paul Smith, the same lawyer who failed to get Kennedy's vote and thus a majority 13 years ago, said technology and data analysis had so improved since then that there are good ways to measure when one party gives itself an unfair edge in creating districts.

The Centre had, in March, also said that public figures, including politicians, can not be refrained from commenting on acts of crime because it would affect their right to free speech and expression.

Supreme Court justices clashed on Tuesday over whether courts should curb the long-standing US political practice of drawing electoral maps to entrench one party in power, with conservative Anthony Kennedy likely to cast the deciding vote. Although he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and more often than not sides with conservatives, Kennedy has written several opinions expanding gay rights, and famously cast the tie-breaking vote in 2015 that affirmed a constitutional right for same sex couples to marry.

In 2010, Republicans nationwide scored big wins at the polls and took full control in at least half a dozen closely divided states.

Gerrymandering has woven into the American political system since 1812 when MA redrew the district lines to favor Governor Elbridge Gerry's Democratic-Republican Party over the Federalists. When the court ultimately did get involved and establish it could have a say in political redistricting issues in the landmark 1962 case Baker v. Carr, Frankfurter warned it would undermine the court's integrity.

Wisconsin's electoral map, drawn after the 2010 USA census, enabled Republicans to win a sizable majority of Wisconsin legislative seats despite losing the popular vote statewide to the Democrats. In one analysis, Democrats captured far fewer state Assembly seats even when they won roughly the same percentage of the statewide vote as Republicans.

A lower court ruled in favor of the challengers, setting out a standard to judge when partisan politics goes too far in map drawing.

However, when you call your legislator, you might ask him or her whatever became of House Bill 722 or Senate Bill 22. A federal district court ruled 2-1 past year that those districts discriminated against Democratic voters "by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats". But the high court has refused.

And if not the court, who? And that has nothing to do with partisan gerrymandering. No court should uphold the devaluation of any voter when the words "equal justice under law", which includes the equal right to vote, are enshrined on the building housing the court that will decide whether this promise is true or false on matters defining American democracy.