The Supreme Court decided to hear a case that will determine if gerrymandering for partisan benefit is constitutional. This will be the landmark case that either shuts down Republican cheating or allows Republicans to use DeVos math to win elections.
This case provides the Court with the opportunity to rule in favor of free and fair elections.
Sasha Grodsky of Patriotic Millionaires said in a statement to politicusUSA:
We are hopeful that the decision to hear this case will be the first step in addressing the partisan gerrymandering that is currently shaping the House of Representatives as well as state legislatures across the country. Partisan gerrymandering has distorted our political system and disenfranchised voters for far too long. It is time for the Supreme Court to declare that it is wrong when a majority of the voters in a state favor one set of policies, but partisan district boundaries mean that a majority of their representatives are opposed to those policies. Too many Americans have had the key to their power—their votes—stolen by the very system that was instituted to secure their rights.
It’s also possible that Gill v. Whitford could provide the workable standards Justice Kennedy once said he was looking for in order to “embrace partisan gerrymandering.”
If that happens, Kennedy could join conservative judges to rule in favor of a politically correct version of rigging elections in favor of Republicans.
It’s settled law that you can’t gerrymander on racial grounds. However, the courts left Republicans with some wiggle room to produce similar results, if they just claim the gerrymandering is “only” for partisan advantage.
In this case, Registered Democratic voters asserted that Republicans used two techniques, cracking and packing, to weaken the effect of Democratic votes state wide.
Cracking is when a party’s voters are divided among districts in a manner that they just fall short of winning majority. Packing is when a party’s voters are concentrated in few districts that they win overwhelmingly.
One can see how this method would make Democratic votes less equal than Republicans votes because, under this map, Republicans won two thirds of the seats with just 48.6 per cent of the vote.
In other words, just as Republicans can’t win the popular vote in presidential elections, they can’t win the popular vote in other elections. They have to resort to DeVos math where a majority means less than 50% of the popular vote. In presidential elections, as we saw in 2016, candidates who can’t win the popular vote can still win the Electoral College vote. Wisconsin Republicans played the electoral map to get similar results – “majorities” with less than 50% of the votes cast.
If the Court strikes down Wisconsin’s ruling, watch for other red states to follow suit – just as they did when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder.
Should Republicans prevail in this case, we may see more states establish independent commissions to draw their electoral maps – since the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 those are constitutional.