Supreme Court Kicks Republicans In The Gut By Giving People The Power To Stop Election Rigging

scales of justice

By ruling that Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission is constitutional, the Supreme Court of the United States kicked plutocrat-loving Republicans in the gut.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote the 5-4 majority opinion, joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, Kennedy and Sotomayer.

The crux of the majority’s reasoning can be found in last paragraph of the ruling.

Our Declaration of Independence,  drew from Locke in stating: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” And our fundamental instrument of government derives its authority from “We the People.” U. S. Const., Preamble. As this Court stated, quoting Hamilton: “[T]he true principle of a republic is, that the people should choose whom they please to govern them.” Powell v. McCormack, 395 U. S. 486, 540-541 (1969) (quoting 2 Debates on the Federal Constitution 257 (J. Elliot ed. 1876)). In this light, it would be perverse to interpret the term “Legislature” in the Elections Clause so as to exclude lawmaking by the people, particularly where such lawmaking is intended to check legislators’ ability to choose the district lines they run in, thereby advancing the prospect that Members of Congress will in fact be “chosen . . . by the People of the several States,”

Even though this case got much less attention from the media compared to the health care and marriage equality cases it is in some ways as important as the aforementioned cases.  The reason is it will shape the meaning of vote equality in the years to come. Had the court ruled the other way, frankly, it would have removed the last real hope of stopping the Koch controlled Republicans from rigging elections in their favor.

The question before the court was to determine the meaning of “legislature” under Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution.

The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.

The background of this case begins with a ballot measure in 2000.  Fifty percent of the people in Arizona voted to remove redistricting power from the legislature and to establish the AIRC.  The reason was simple: Arizonians were frustrated with a rigged electoral map.  Initially, the AIRC didn’t do a very good job of drawing the electoral map. As noted by Miriam Wasser, Republicans had a super majority by the end of the decade because ”the number of registered Democrats was not reflected in the election results – somewhat comparable to how a presidential candidate who wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College loses the entire election.”

After the 2010 census, a new AIRC was elected, and they chose a different set of mapping consultants.  The Koch controlled Republicans were angry because they believed the new consultants were “too Democratic” in other words, fair.

In 2012, the Koch Republican controlled legislature filed a suit claiming Proposition 106 (the ballot measure to establish the AIRC) was an unconstitutional power grab by the people of Arizona.  When, in February 2014, a three-judge panel ruled that the AIRC was constitutional, the Koch Republican controlled legislature appealed to the Supreme Court.

Through this ruling, the Supreme Court placed an important limit on the Republican Party’s efforts to silence the people.  It means that independent redistricting commissions in other states are also constitutional.  It also means that the power to stop Republican election rigging is where it belongs – in the hands of the people.

35 Replies to “Supreme Court Kicks Republicans In The Gut By Giving People The Power To Stop Election Rigging”

  1. Hallelujah!! Uh-oh, are these the UNELECTED Justices/Activists doing their activists deeds, again? So sick of hearing these cry babies cry!

  2. Three good decisions in four days….not too bad.

    Unfortunately, the environment and the future of humanity is taking a back seat to profits.

  3. GOP Voter Fraud Accusations Suddenly Blowing Up In Their Faces Posted: 10/25/2012
    Republican officials, who have used hysteria about alleged voter fraud as an excuse to support measures that disproportionately block Democratic voters, are furiously trying to distance themselves from a growing number of GOP voter registration drives that either submitted false applications or threw away authentic ones. The incidents might have been overlooked if not for the GOP’s clamorous campaignto restrict registration drives, purge voter rolls, roll back early voting, and pass voter ID laws that opponents point out have the effect of depressing the vote among minorities, the poor and other generally Democratic constituencies.
    As one Southern California alt-weekly put it, it’s turning into a story of “The Wolf Who Cried Wolf.”

  4. Great decisions on the ACA, marriage equality, and
    gerrymandering. Not so much when it came to
    lethal injections. Jah bless.

  5. Republicans can’t win unless they cheat, because the demographics are against them.
    They cheated to make it close enough to steal the election in 2000, and they’ve been rigging elections and instituting Jim Crow disenfranchising vote theft fraud ever since.
    But, they’re dying off, and are not being replaced. They are marching towards oblivion as a permanent minority and regional party. But they won’t go quietly. They’ll become more strident and extreme….and though they’ll never claim their factual name – the de facto American Fascist Party, or perhaps more correctly – the Anti-Civilizationist Party. They may drop the ‘Republican’ alias because it has been so soiled. They’ll choose another alias, like the ‘American’ Party, or the ‘Freedom’ party.

  6. Great for Arizona. Now, how do we get the same proposition on the ballot in other states like mine which are gerrymandered so bad that a district’s boundaries narrow to the width of a street in some cases in order to include another area.

  7. Great news!

    The next fight is for the Grand Canyon, as the fake-conservatives wish to make it into a circus-like-park instead of CONSERVE NATURE.

  8. Because of their exclusionary, self-serving, compassionless policies and proclamations, Republicans have not been able to garner significant percentages of the votes from key demographic sectors of the electorate.
    Therefore, they have opted for a different approach — reduce the number of these citizens who are able to vote and/or minimize the impact of their vote.

    To that end, we have already seen — and, despite the ruling of the SCOTUS, expect to continue to see — Republican-controlled state legislatures renew their efforts to create voter eligibility roadblocks and engage in the deliberate manipulation of election districts so that white conservative, sparsely populated rural regions have a disproportionately larger impact on elections than do multi-ethnic, heavily populated urban centers.

  9. Given this courts prior ruling on the death penalty and rulings favoring big business, I’m not too surprised.

  10. You must remember there are Democratic controlled states – cough!cough!Illinois – doing the same thing.

  11. Rick:
    The AZ Constitution provides the clear language for the people to make the decision on this issue.

    I am guessing that the Constitution for your State provides similar language & the local Democratic group could be looking at it and make a similar move on it.

    Good luck with that

  12. I’m hoping it does and they do. The Democrats tried to bring it up through the legislative process, but the Republican majority wasn’t having any of it. If it becomes a ballot question though, they won’t have a choice. I’m just not sure if our state Constitution is set up that way.

  13. Much like SallyinChicago above. To them, Power to the Plutocrats is superior to Power to the People.

    Sally shows that we really can’t fix stupid.

  14. I was watching MSNBC when this story broke, and from what I just read, I misunderstood the ruling. It sounded as if The Court was saying it was ok to rig elections! I switched the channel, angered by that.

    Well, the bad news from THEIR Court continues, doesn’t it? It should be “we the people” that decides redistricting, not politicians or corporations

  15. This was all well and good…the tyrants of industry in the Second Gilded Age had had at least some of their evil power legally hobbled.

    But again United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was a dissenter from a ruling of the Roberts Court.

    You wondered whether the House Of Representatives would be able to find enough evidence of a “high crime” to impeach and convict him off his bench, so that he might then be disbarred and imprisoned under Federal laws.

    The one criminal charge that could then stick would most likely be a count of either obstruction of justice or conspiracy to obstruct justice; in that case, the conspiracy-to-obstruct count could probably be filed as an aggravant of the obstruction count.


    Greg Abbott, Texas AG, Acknowledges GOP Redistricting Decisions Made ‘At The Expense Of The Democrats’

    KOCH backed AG helps hide chemical plant dangers

    Money from Koch interests flows to governor candidate Greg Abbott

  17. Rick get active in your Local Democratic Party!
    Here in CA we’re so politically motivated it’s beautiful to see!

  18. I have lived in Arizona since 2003 and the Permanent Early Ballot List and the AIRC are two Arizona decisions that have already begun to change the political landscape here.
    The Permanent Early Ballot list has been so popular that over 60% of our voters use it. We generally have over 4 weeks to mail in or deposit our ballots, giving us ample time to research our candidates and issues.
    The AIRC redistricting after the 2010 Census was fair and successful, despite the many attempts by Governor Jan Brewer and the Republican majorities in the State Senate and House to impose their own jerrymandered redistricting. As a result, the congressional elections reflected the real population within each district and Democrats gained a 5-4 majority within the delegation. The mid-term election reversed that majority, but District 9, the new district formed by the redistricting remains solidly Democratic. In fact, Kyrsten Sinema won by a larger margin in 2014.

  19. Basing voting district borders on a region’s land area rather than its population size is not only unethical, it defies logic … unless your motivation is to rewrite the rules of American democracy to give your party an unfair advantage.

    Using aforementioned gerrymandered districts to determine Electoral Vote allocation in a presidential election is an affront to the fundamental tenets upon which our Great American Experiment is based.

    Enter the modern Republican Party, a shining beacon of Machiavellian methodology.

  20. yes folks. hope and change is indeed here. the rightwing has no idea what the hell just happened. I know! I know! it’s called karma righties. the righties are finally reaping what they deserve and this GOP and the conservatives sowed enough hate, deceit, bigotry, intolerance, sabotage, treason, ignorance and cowardice in the last 7 years to fill an entire lifetime. republicans and the republican party are going down in flames. and boy do we dems and libs love what we are seeing right now. we have been waiting a long time to see justice like this.

  21. Rick, you wouldn’t by any chance be talking about Ohio’s ninth Congressional District which stretches from Toledo to Cleveland and was drawn that way by the Republicans specifically so Marcie Kaptur could beat Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary. It worked. Adios Dennis. [WINK]

  22. Since the court decision seems to apply only to those states that have a process whereby citizens can bypass the legislature and initiate whatever (such as a manner of redistricting), I disagree with the author of this piece that it is a great cure-all for Democrats or the public in general. Most states don’t have such an initiative process. While Democrats benefit specifically in Arizona (where Republicans would otherwise control redistricting), the opposite is true in California (where Democrats would otherwise be in charge of the redistricting process). Where one party currently controls the process (as, for example, is true for Democrats in Maryland and Republicans in North Carolina), they will continue to do their partisan thing (which is to create districts that will maximize their numbers in the Congress and state legislatures). They would be damn fools to unilaterally surrender that right to a supposedly “non-partisan commission” unless every state does it that way too.

  23. Oh no! If republicans can’t redistrict/gerrymander in their own favor anymore, how are they going to steal elections in the future? Does this Supreme Court ruling imply that republicans might actually have to come up with some actual ideas to help their constituents instead of depending on clusters of old, white voters in certain geographical areas? Heaven forbid! What’s a poor right winger to do?

  24. Hey V2787…I am an old, white male and I have NEVER been right wing, red state happy, conservative, hateful, bigoted,or rich and powerful. Nor have I been sucked in by FOX News or the Bush family or…well you get it. And there are A LOT like me. So, be careful about your STEREOTYPING.
    It makes you look not very smart and I know you are not stupid. So, how about some respect for those of us who are not the way you described in your post. Ok?

  25. First of all, I grew up in a very conservative home and still consider myself pretty conservative, although hopefully not viewed as a fanatic. I try to keep a level view. I don’t have a problem with “liberalism” in general. What I have a problem with are some of the ideas that for some reason seem to be slipped in with what I otherwise would consider legitimate issues. I believe that some things we demonize solely because they seem to be part of the “other” party’s objectives, we’ll do anything to get a political edge. The political edge should mean nothing, but unfortunately means everything in a process that rewards those who only desire to get re-elected instead of actually getting things done. I believe in gun rights but have no objection to most of the restrictions that democrats have proposed. I believe that abortion should be avoided, but should certainly be available in cases of rape, incest, abuse, etc. I just wish there can be level heads on both sides.

  26. Old white female, and no, nobody means us. Not all our demographic is Foxbots, but almost all Foxbots seem to come from our demographic.

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