2017-06-19

The SCOTUS Wisconsin Case

SCOTUS will hear the Wisconsin case. They've never overturned a partisan gerrymander, only racial gerrymanders. They could also still decline to rule on this case. By 5-4 they overturned the lower court's ruling that new districts needed to be enacted for this fall, so the gerrymander persists and justice will continue to be delayed and denied.
We could argue to SCOTUS that gerrymandering is bad and it might not matter; they have to find it unconstitutional and that's a trickier thing.


The way I understand the question it's about the 'equal protection' clause of the 14th amendment and whether 'equal protection' implies 'equal representation' and that implies that people need to have representatives of their own preferred party in State Legislature and Congress. If you register D party are you only properly treated by your government if there are D representatives in proportion to the number of D voters in your state? Traditionally the answer is No, you have a representative from your district and that's what you get whether you agree with them or not. Maybe the exception for racist gerrymanders confused the issue by enacting reparations for what was clearly a pattern of minority disempowerment. I think it's a tenuous line of reasoning and certainly not an 'originalist' interpretation of the Constitution.

If they decide against Wisconsin it could be a really big deal requiring the redrawing of districts in a dozen states. I'm feeling a little cynical in betting the won't do that. If they do, it might come with a provision that nobody needs to change their districts this late and can just wait until 2021.

All that aside I of course do think that making our elected representatives more accurately mirror the voting populace is a good idea and making our legislative bodies more proportional is a good idea; I just think we'll need changes to laws and constitutions to make it happen.

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