How to clean up Wisconsin Supreme Court mess


"Social-science tools now allow courts to diagnose partisan gerrymanders with accuracy and precision", according to a brief from two political scientists who have helped draw district maps.

"You are the only institution in the United States. that can solve this problem", Smith added.

Depending on the remedy that the court requires, the reverberations could be significant for redistricting after the 2020 census.

Gersch says that case will have no effect on Pennsylvania's constitution.

Meanwhile, as legislators ask the court to get this case right and not rush, those seeking change say voters can't wait for another election to pass them by. Using advanced technology, lawmakers and experts drew the maps in such a way that guaranteed their party's continued control over the state government for years to come.

The other judges are divided equally among the Republicans and Democrats.

The nine justices will consider the lawfulness of partisan gerrymandering, the long-standing practice of manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts to benefit one party, and whether in this case Republicans meant to hobble Democrats.

Justice Kennedy didn't give the challengers a hard time at all. As a result, the party favored by a minority of voters can attain and hold a permanent majority.

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In Wisconsin, the election map assured the GOP would have a supermajority of at least 60 seats in the 99-member state Assembly, even in elections such as 2012 when Republican candidates won just 48 percent of the vote. One of the contorted districts supposedly resembled a salamander - hence the portmanteau of the governor's last name - Gerry - and the word salamander - gerrymander.

Once the process begins, it will then be up to the courts to determine the appropriate standard or formula by which to judge the partisan gerrymander; then, the court must determine what the right balance in that legislature should be. In Wisconsin, the line-drawing after the 2010 census was so slick that in the next election the GOP won less than 49 percent of the vote but wound up with almost 60 percent of the seats in the state legislature's lower house.

The top court had taken note of a controversial statement of ex-Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan that the Bulandshahr gangrape was part of a "political conspiracy".

A similar case is brewing in Maryland, but it was brought by Republicans.

Which is better for Democrats? Samuel Alito also sneered, suggesting that a single paper by a "young researcher" hardly provides an adequate basis for the justices to meddle in elections across the country.

Chief Justice John Roberts characterized that novel claim as "sociological gobbledygook" while Justice Elena Kagan was swept away by its brilliance. The precious right to vote, if you can stack a legislature in this way, what incentive is there for a voter to exercise his vote? But intervening could, as Mr Roberts fears, push the court directly into the political fray, risking what he described as "serious harm to the status and integrity" of his court. The lower court sided with the couple, asserting that the case represented a straightforward instance of a business discriminating against gay people, which is prohibited under Colorado law.

"Maybe we ought to be cautious about stepping in here", the Trump-appointed justice asked.

The left-leaning justices occupied much of the discussion and voiced concerns over the government's ability to indefinitely hold immigrants without a hearing while the court's righ-leaning justices questioned whether the court should be imposing deadlines for hearings in immigration matters. "In the context of partisan gerrymandering, that means that First Amendment concerns arise where an apportionment has the objective and effect of burdening a group of voters' representational rights".