Democrats are once again pretending politics has suddenly been injected into the gerrymandering process.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge to maps drawn by Wisconsin Republicans following the 2010 Census, which Democrats claimed were too partisan.
Without addressing the merits of political gerrymandering, the court sent the case back to the district court, ruling the plaintiffs didn’t have proper standing to challenge the maps’ political makeup, reports the Journal-Sentinel.
Sidestepping major rulings, the nine justices decided both cases on narrow legal grounds and put off perhaps until their next term, which begins in October, a more definitive ruling on whether courts can step in to limit the contentious practice known as partisan gerrymandering.
In the Wisconsin case, the court ruled 9-0 in favor of Republican legislators who drew state electoral districts that helped entrench their party in power, throwing out a lower court ruling that the map had deprived Democratic voters of their constitutional rights including equal protection under the law.
The ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, said the Democratic voters who sued to block the electoral map lacked the necessary legal standing because they challenged it statewide rather than focusing on individual districts.
The ruling makes it harder, but not impossible, for plaintiffs to challenge maps statewide. To do so, voters in every district in a state must show their own voting clout has been harmed.
In the Maryland case, the court’s unsigned opinion preserved a Democratic-drawn U.S. House of Representatives district challenged by Republican voters, but allowed the fight to continue in a lower court.
While the court didn’t kill the Democrats’ challenge altogether, it did allow the Republican maps to stand. It was the right decision, as overturning the GOP maps would have been a precedent-setting intrusion into the longstanding reapportionment process.
Leftist opponents have said partisan gerrymandering has begun to warp American “democracy” (America is a Republic) by muffling large segments of the electorate.
Democrats in particular have accused Republicans of escalating partisan gerrymandering this decade, helping President Donald Trump’s party maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures.
Critics have said gerrymandering has become more extreme through the use of precise voter data and computer modeling to devise electoral maps.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk