Friday, 23 February, 2018


Gerrymandering Case in Pennsylvania Rejected by US Court

A federal appeals court panel struck down this NC Congressional district map adopted in 2016 on Jan. 9 2018 A federal appeals court panel struck down this NC Congressional district map adopted in 2016 on Jan. 9 2018
Bennie Garza | 13 January, 2018, 03:50

That was the demand made on Tuesday by a three-judge panel that unanimously found that the maps were drawn to give Republicans an advantage on Election Day, which critics of the maps say explains why North Carolina, which is essentially a purple state, has 10 Republicans in the U.S. House and just three Democrats.

Wynn, a Barack Obama appointee to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. District Judges W. Earl Britt. a Jimmy Carter appointee, and William L. Osteen Jr., a George W. Bush appointee - gave the lawmakers until January 24 to adopt new maps, which are to be turned in to the court with a record of any hearings by January 29.

We hope and expect that the 4th Circuit judges eventually will appoint a special master to redraw North Carolina's election districts.

Lawmakers suggest that the more "sensible course" is to stay the federal court's decision until the U.S. Supreme Court makes its decision in a separate partisan gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford.

That's rich-accusing a federal appeals court of exactly what the GOP has done this decade.

The plaintiffs "have failed to meet their burden of proving that the 2011 plan, as a piece of legislation, clearly, plainly, and palpably violates the Pennsylvania Constitution", Brobson said in his recommendation on December 29. Those maps typically are used only if legislators fail to redraw contested maps according to court standards. Legislators have reason to argue that courts are overreaching. Historically, courts have intervened only in cases of racial disparity. A Supreme Court ruling could change the way that electoral districts are drawn around the country. The "one-to-one rule" was then viewed as meddlesome - an attempt to legislate from the bench.

Also in Pennsylvania, a group of 18 Democratic voters filed a state gerrymandering lawsuit against state officials in June.

"I think this case is pretty significant in that it lays out a potential legal justification for courts inserting themselves into partisan gerrymandering".

By midday Friday, the federal judges had not yet ruled on the state legislative case but told attorneys last week that they were aware of the tight timeline before the filing period.

"I think the courts have looked at this as a political thicket, and the concern among conservatives is that if we start inserting ourselves into these political questions, do we run the risk of becoming too political in our decision making?" "Spearheaded by the League of Women Voters, this lawsuit is partisan politics under the guise of good public policy", Scarnati said. "From the liberal side - they would say Congress isn't dealing with this".

If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, Riggs said it would likely have to be on an expedited review in order for the justices to hear arguments this term. Kennedy has signaled he opposes partisan gerrymanders and could see the Wisconsin and Maryland cases as an opportunity to address the problem. The judges, appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, said Rucho and Lewis violated the "core principle of republican government" by predetermining that a map should give Republicans wins in 10 of 13 districts.

He said his map was "fair, allows voters to truly select their congressman, and allows communities with similar regional interests to have representation from a single member of Congress".

"Prohibiting the state from using the duly enacted districting map that governed its last election cycle is not just practically disruptive, but represents a grave and irreparable sovereign injury", Strach stated in the request for intervention. The high court also agreed to hear a Maryland case over partisanship in that state's congressional map. "That is what the court has now disallowed in an opinion that has national implications".

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