High court hears ger­ry­man­der­ing re­dis­trict­ing ar­gu­ment this week

Maryland Independent - - News - By HAL­LIE MILLER Cap­i­tal News Ser­vice Twit­ter: @Jes­si­caIndyNews

WASH­ING­TON — The Supreme Court of the United States took on the is­sue of par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing Tues­day in a po­ten­tially land­mark case that could set lim­its on the con­gres­sional dis­trict­ing process.

The case, Gill v. Whit­ford, orig­i­nated in Wis­con­sin when Democrats chal­lenged a Repub­li­can-drawn up­date to the state’s con­gres­sional district maps. The district and ap­peals courts struck down the re­vi­sions as overly par­ti­san, on the grounds that the new map di­luted the votes of Democrats in cer­tain dis­tricts.

Sup­port­ers of con­sti­tu­tional lim­its on ger­ry­man­der­ing ar­gue that par­ti­san re­dis­trict­ing elim­i­nates elec­toral com­pe­ti­tion and safe­guards in­cum­bents from chal­lengers.

U.S. Rep. Alan Lowen­thal (D-Calif.), who has led a bi­par­ti­san ef­fort to cre­ate an in­de­pen­dent re­dis­trict­ing com­mis­sion in his state, said he is op­ti­mistic that the court will rule in fa­vor of con­sti­tu­tional lim­its on par­ti­san re­dis­trict­ing.

“This is the case,” he said.

A sim­i­lar case to Gill is pend­ing in Mary­land. Af­ter a fed­eral district court struck down a chal­lenge to the Demo­crat-fa­vored crit­i­cal Con­gres­sional district map, a three-judge panel in the 4th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, ruled 2-1 in fa­vor of keep­ing the cur­rent map.

An at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Repub­li­cans in Mary­land said he would ap­peal that rul­ing to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported in Au­gust.

Takoma Park res­i­dent Susan Og­den, who at­tended the 10 a.m. “Fair Maps” rally out­side the Supreme Court, said ger­ry­man­der­ing skews the demo­cratic process in fa­vor of the law­mak­ers rather than their con­stituents.

“In Mary­land, it’s all safe Demo­cratic,” she said. “Wouldn’t it be bet­ter if we had a re­ally fair sys­tem where Repub­li­cans and Democrats could vote for the rep­re­sen­ta­tives who re­flect their views?”

A rul­ing in the Gill case is ex­pected by the end of June.

A 17-year-old boy is in the hospi­tal with life-threat­en­ing in­juries as a re­sult of driv­ing off the road and crash­ing into a tree in Wal­dorf on Sept. 29.

Around 3:56 p.m., Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice deputies re­sponded to the area of Billingsley Road near Leonard­town Road and Piney Church Road in Wal­dorf for the re­port of a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent.

The ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that a mo­tor­cy­cle was trav­el­ing west on Billingsley Road when the driver left the road­way, for un­known rea­sons, be­fore strik­ing a sign and a tree.

The driver was flown to a hospi­tal with life-threat­en­ing in­juries.

The teenager is still in the hospi­tal and show­ing signs of sur­vival, as of press time Tues­day, said Janelle Love of CCSO me­dia re­la­tions.

The traf­fic op­er­a­tions unit is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

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