Jus­tices take Wis­con­sin case on leg­isla­tive re­dis­trict­ing

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - — Stephen Di­nan

The Supreme Court added an­other thorny po­lit­i­cal case to its docket next term, agree­ing Mon­day to rule on whether Wis­con­sin’s leg­isla­tive dis­tricts are so po­lit­i­cally loaded that they vi­o­late the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The jus­tices may have given an early sense for which way they’re lean­ing, is­su­ing an or­der halt­ing a lower court’s rul­ing that had de­manded Wis­con­sin re­draw its maps by Novem­ber.

While courts have over­turned leg­isla­tive dis­trict maps based on racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, judges have shied away from strik­ing down dis­tricts drawn to max­i­mize a party’s po­lit­i­cal power. The Wis­con­sin case will test that.

“The Supreme Court now has an op­por­tu­nity to rein in par­ti­san ma­nip­u­la­tion of the elec­tions process, which has thwarted the will of the vot­ers in nu­mer­ous states,” said Dale Ho, di­rec­tor of the vot­ing rights project at the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union.

Af­ter the 2010 cen­sus, the GOP­con­trolled state as­sem­bly re­drew the dis­trict lines, carv­ing up dis­tricts so Democrats were packed into some lop­sided dis­tricts, giv­ing the GOP a bet­ter chance at win­ning com­pet­i­tive seats.

A three-judge panel ruled the map il­le­gal and or­dered a new one drawn by later this year. In a 5-4 or­der Mon­day, though, the Supreme Court halted that sched­ule. The court’s Demo­crat­i­cap­pointed jus­tices dis­sented.

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