2017-10-04

How the SCOTUS Wisconsin Gerrymander case could go

A. Partisan gerrymander bad! Must gerrymander districts to ensure shoddy proportional representation.
B. Partisan gerrymander bad! Map must provably have no bias.
C. Meh. Whatever. Let whatever party do whatever they want.
D. BS! Puny anti-gerrymandering arguments are so bad we don’t want any courts to listen to them in 2021 either.

I feel like the plaintiffs want A. I feel like this is pretty unlikely. It would be a truly revolutionary decision that would effectively create new rules about how every state needs to redistrict. The Court is loathe to do this. Congress could pass a new 'Voting Rights Act' type law which could do this, if Congress could pass anything useful.

Option B would be the court pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I'm not sure anyone is asking for this except me.

I would mostly bet on C. No change, no big decision either way.

I am afraid of D. The court could make a ruling such that they not only throw out the Wisconsin complaint but throw out the basis and statistical means of the Wisconsin complaint thus removing the basis for future court challenges. I know a lot of people who are betting on playing a good court challenge game in 2021 to battle the expected gerrymanders which come after the next Census. There would be a lot of searching for a new strategy between now and then if SCOTUS actively disqualifies the tests being tried in the Wisconsin case.

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Things are in the news now, we can read snippets of the arguments in Court, but there won't be real news until the justices make their decision in the coming months.

2 comments:

  1. I don't understand what you mean when you say "A. Partisan gerrymander bad! Must gerrymander districts to ensure shoddy proportional representation."

    Do you mean that the court rules that the map most ensure proportional representation, but that court formula will ensure that it is always shody? or that the court formula will allow shody and non-shody proportional representation? Or is there a typo and you are saying the the court will rule that most maps ensure bad proportional representation and that those maps are therefore thrown out?

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    1. 'shoddy proportional representation' is my term for districts that have been distorted to be not simply about local representation, aka gerrymandered, to try and make the statewide representation turn out to about the statewide vote by party. They'll try to do this, or even do this well, and I think it's a suboptimal thing to try to do.

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