Monday, September 25, 2017

Cautious Optimism on Upcoming Supreme Court Gerrymandering Case - Gill vs. Whitford

I've mentioned this case before. This post goes through the legal logic for proving gerrymandering.  It's about efficiency and 'wasted votes.'

The case is scheduled before the US Supreme Court October 3.  If the Wisconsin voters who brought this case to the Supreme Court prevail, it would go a long way to curb the egregious gerrymandering that went on in Wisconsin.  Here's an excerpt from a LA Times piece on this case.
"Several crucial factors have aligned to make judicial action both relatively easy and absolutely necessary.
To start, the Wisconsin voters who brought the case aren’t asking the court to rule on everything that’s problematic about the ways our districts are created and our legislatures operate. They simply want the court to determine if Wisconsin’s General Assembly map — a textbook example of extreme gerrymandering — is beyond the constitutional pale. (Of course, a ruling against Wisconsin would have ramifications for extreme gerrymanders elsewhere in the country.)"
Click the link to see the whole article.

The article does mention some bi-partisan support for the bill.  I'd add that given how extreme gerrymandering has made life difficult for traditional/moderate Republicans to win primaries, it may well be that such Republicans are supporting the Wisconsin voters against the state in this case.

A Crime Without Consequences for the Perpetrators?

 However, this doesn't address the issue of when there is election fraud - via gerrymandering, voter suppression, or other means used to help one party win an unfair number of seats - there really is no remedy for the harm they do.  The courts have found Texas and North Carolina to have illegally manipulated their districts after the 2010 census.  But what's the downside for those who committed these acts?  I haven't heard of anyone going to prison and all the legislation passed by the legislatures that were packed with (in these cases) Republicans, still stands.

So there are plenty of incentives to cheat and none that I can see to not cheat.  Perhaps prison sentences and nullification of legislation passed by illegally created legislatures might help, though nullification would probably prove chaotic.  But this is a topic we need to begin discussing.

Of course, whenever I write something like "I haven't heard of (anyone going to prison) . . ." I realize I need to look and see if there are examples.  This Huffington Post article talks about Let America Vote, an organization fighting voter suppression.  Their form of punishment, based on the article, would appear to be by voting them out of office, not prison.  I realize that prison for legislators doing their jobs as legislators is a double edged sword, but when they are plotting to restrict voters from voting, that seems to be a very serious violation of American democracy.

You can check out Let America Vote here.

1 comment:


    Possible voter fraud within the Drumpf White House.


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