Supreme Court to Finally Decide if Partisan Gerrymandering Is Unconstitutional


'How Much Partisanship Is Too Much?'

The U.S. Supreme Court has just announced it will finally address whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. The Court will hear the case of Whitford v. Nichol, which alleges Wisconsin lawmakers drew districts to favor Republicans. A lower court ruling upheld the case, agreeing lawmakers' gerrymandering was unconstitutional.

"This will be the biggest and most important election law case in decades. However the Court rules will affect elections for years to come," says University of Kentucky College of Law's Josh Douglas, a law professor, according to CNN.

MSNBC's Pete Willams boils the case down to deciding "how much partisanship is too much."

In last year's report, "The Most Exciting Attack On Partisan Gerrymandering In Over A Decade," ThinkProgress Justice Editor Ian Millhiser wrote, "a dozen years after [Justice] Kennedy despaired for want of a workable way to uncover partisan gerrymanders, two young scholars may have cracked the code.

In a paper published in the University of Chicago Law Review last year, law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos and political scientist Eric McGhee propose a mathematical formula judges can use to identify suspect maps. This formula is now the subject of a federal lawsuit, Whitford v. Nichol, which has survived two motions, submitted by defenders of Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn maps, that sought to kill the case. Moreover, because of a quirk of federal law, the case is overwhelmingly likely to wind up in the Supreme Court.

Indeed, it just has.

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Image by Steven Nass via Wikimedia

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