U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on Wisconsin "gerrymandering"

The Supreme Court will hear opening arguments October 3 over Wisconsin's voting map, which state Democrats charge needs major redrawing because it is rigged to favor Republicans.
By Kristy Douglas | Sep 29, 2017
The Supreme Court will hear opening arguments October 3 over Wisconsin's voting map, which state Democrats charge needs major redrawing because it is rigged to favor Republicans. The plaintiffs, if successful, might set a precedent for upending the rules governing drawing of electoral district lines across the country.

Republicans redrew the state's electoral district map in 2011 after they won a majority of the state legislature in the 2010 elections. The new map helped them disproportionately in the 2012 elections, according to the plaintiffs, whonoted that the GOP won less than half of the ballots for the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2012 but still gained 60% of the seats.

They allege that the disparity is an example of partisan "gerrymandering" that has skewed many state election maps to the benefit of the incumbent partyin this case, Republicans.

"Gerrymandering is getting much worse because of three things: better data, better computers and a more polarized electorate," said Paul Smith, a Washington lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center who will argue on behalf of the map's challengers. "Those three things make it much more feasible to build bias into the map and know it's going to last."

The court has ruled against political redistricting attempts in recent cases in which it concluded that the map re-drawings disadvantaged voters of a minority racial or ethnic group. However, this case will be the first one to challenge redistricting on the basis of it undercutting a political party.

 

This case is one of several high-profile cases that the justices will take up next week. They will also hear cases involving cell-phone privacy, employees' right to file class-action lawsuits, public-sector unions' right to charge union fees, and religious objections to gay marriage.

 

---

Have something to say? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to the author. You can share ideas for stories by contacting us here.

Comments
Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic.