News Worms
News Worms

Supreme Court hears gerrymandering case stemming out of Wisconsin

Supreme Court hears gerrymandering case stemming out of Wisconsin

Aren't those all textual indications in the Constitution itself that maybe we ought to be cautious about stepping in here?

Ginsburg then interjected, "Where did "one-person-one-vote" come from?" referring to the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that criminal proceedings in serious offences such as rape, murder, dacoity and financial fraud can not be repressed even if the two parties settle the disputes as such offences are not private in nature.

This case stands out for another reason as well.

Smith said that Roberts' argument was so narrowly focused on preserving the court's reputation that the chief justice was missing the broader threat to the country. But this is one of those rare moments when oral arguments may have determined the case's outcome.

There might well be a good argument for reining in partisan gerrymandering. But because the resulting representation is increasingly distorted as a result of increased gerrymandering, the very existence of democracy is at stake.

The case involves a Filipino legal immigrant named James Garcia Dimaya federal authorities ordered deported after he was convicted in two California home burglaries, though neither crime involved violence. They redrew the legislative district lines so that 49 percent of the voters elected Republicans to 60 of the 99 Assembly seats.

Time is of the essence for the plaintiffs, because they hope to effect a change in the state's maps in time for the 2018 election cycle, which actually starts next winter with the circulation of nominating petititions for party primaries. It got worse in 2014. Wisconsin Democrats have asserted the GOP was entitled to no more than a 7 percent advantage in seats won, not the approximate 12 percent advantage it achieved. That's what gerrymandering does, and why it's unconstitutional.

Opponents of gerrymandering got a mixed reception as they urged the U.S. Supreme Court to rule for the first time that voting maps can be so partisan they violate the Constitution.

The state is arguing the justices should put an end to courts' consideration of partisanship in districting plans and cautioning that far from being manageable, a ruling for the Democratic voters would open the door to a flood of lawsuits that would be based on cherry-picked evidence and hard for judges to manage.

The Supreme Court, after first opening the door to such claims in Davis v. Bandemer in 1986, has closed the door in recent years, leaving it only ajar by dint of Justice Anthony Kennedy's equivocation on the issue.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the questions framed on the issue by senior advocates Fali S Nariman and Harish Salve and said, "we are sending it to a constitution bench".

"It may well impair the Court's position as the ultimate organ of "the supreme Law of the Land" in that vast range of legal problems, often strongly entangled in popular feeling, on which this Court must pronounce".

The left-leaning justices questioned Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart, counsel for the petitioners, extensively on why alien detainees should be treated differently than individuals being detained during criminal proceedings.

And gerrymandered GOP-run legislatures in MI and Missouri enacted so-called "right-to-work" legislation, a favorite cause of big business and the radical right, as a way to de-fund, degrade, and destroy unions. Wisconsin Republicans argue that enforcing a judiciary-designed definition for "partisan" in legislative elections would create a system of judicial review on every map. "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".


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