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Subject: Judges Find Wisconsin Redistricting Unfairly Favored Republicans rss

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How about something not involving Trump?

Judges Find Wisconsin Redistricting Unfairly Favored Republicans

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A panel of three federal judges said on Monday that the Wisconsin Legislature’s 2011 redrawing of State Assembly districts to favor Republicans was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, the first such ruling in three decades of pitched legal battles over the issue.

Federal courts have struck down gerrymanders on racial grounds, but not on grounds that they unfairly give advantage to a political party — the more common form of gerrymandering. The case could now go directly to the Supreme Court, where its fate may rest with a single justice, Anthony M. Kennedy, who has expressed a willingness to strike down partisan gerrymanders but has yet to accept a rationale for it.

Should the court affirm the ruling, it could upend the next round of state redistricting, in 2021, for congressional and state elections nationwide, most of which is likely to be conducted by Republican-controlled legislatures that have swept into power in recent years.

“It is a huge deal,” said Heather Gerken, a Yale Law School professor and an expert on election law. “For years, everyone has waited for the Supreme Court to do something on this front. Now one of the lower courts has jump-started the debate.

“If this were to be a nationwide standard, 2021 would look quite different,” she said, “especially for the Democrats.”

Several election-law scholars said the ruling was especially significant because it offered, for the first time, a clear mathematical formula for measuring partisanship in a district, something that had been missing in previous assaults on gerrymandering.

The 2-to-1 ruling by the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin said that the Legislature’s remapping violated both the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it aimed to deprive Democratic voters of their right to be represented. “Although Wisconsin’s natural political geography plays some role in the apportionment process,” the court wrote, “it simply does not explain adequately the sizable disparate effect” of Republican gains in the State Assembly after the boundaries were redrawn.

The judges who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, Kenneth Ripple and Barbara Crabb, were nominated to the bench by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Judge William Griesbach, nominated by President George W. Bush, dissented.

The boundaries of both federal and state legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years after the census to ensure that each district contains roughly the same number of people, a standard the Supreme Court set with its one-person-one-vote ruling in 1962.

But both Republican and Democratic majorities in statehouses often remap districts to favor themselves, either by cramming opposition voters into a single district or by dividing them so they are the majority in fewer districts, tactics called “packing and cracking.”

Courts have generally agreed that some partisan advantage in redistricting is tolerable, in part because voters themselves are not spread equally across a state or district by party. But the plaintiffs in the case, 12 state Democrats represented by the Campaign Legal Center, had argued that the Wisconsin remapping was among the most sharply partisan in the nation.

Their lawsuit said that in the 2012 elections for the Assembly, Wisconsin Republicans won 48.6 percent of the two-party vote but took 61 percent of the Assembly’s 99 seats.
Independent journalism.
More essential than ever.

A key question in Monday’s ruling, as in past challenges to redistricting, was whether that division was unacceptably partisan, a question that previous courts have stumbled over.

“Nobody has come up with a standard to measure constitutionality — how to distinguish between malevolent, evil partisanship that’s manipulative, versus the natural advantage one party might have as a result of where voters happened to live,” said Edward Foley, the director of the Election Law Project at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

In Monday’s ruling, the court was swayed by a new and simple mathematical formula to measure the extent of partisan gerrymandering, called the efficiency gap. The formula divides the difference between the two parties’ “wasted votes” — votes beyond those needed by a winning side, and votes cast by a losing side — by the total number of votes cast. When both parties waste the same number of votes, the result is zero — an ideal solution. But as a winning party wastes fewer and fewer votes than its opponent, its score rises.

A truly efficient gerrymander spreads a winning party’s votes so evenly over districts that very few votes are wasted. A review of four decades of state redistricting plans concluded that any party with an efficiency gap of 7 percent or more was likely to keep its majority during the 10 years before new districts were drawn.

In Wisconsin, experts testified, Republicans scored an efficiency gap rating of 11.69 percent to 13 percent in the first election after the maps were redrawn in 2011.

Some experts said the efficiency gap gives gerrymandering opponents their most promising chance yet to persuade a majority of the Supreme Court to limit partisan redistricting.

“It does almost exactly what Justice Kennedy said he was looking for back in the ’80s, a clear threshold for deciding what is acceptable,” said Barry C. Burden, the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Under procedural rules, cases like redistricting lawsuits that are heard by three-judge panels in District Court are appealed directly to the Supreme Court, skipping the Federal Court of Appeals. But it remains unclear whether Wisconsin will file an appeal or accept the ruling and limit its impact to a single state.

Were the Supreme Court to hear the case, the effect could be profound, regardless of the decision. Republicans have more than doubled their control of state legislatures since 2010, and with gains from this month’s election they now control both legislative chambers in a record 32 states — 33 if Nebraska, which has a nominally nonpartisan, unicameral legislature, is included.

Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a University of Chicago law professor and the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, said on Monday that a number of state redistricting plans, including those in Virginia, North Carolina and Michigan, have efficiency gap scores rivaling those of Wisconsin.


Maybe this will be the first step in getting power back to the people?

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Chris Binkowski
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Donald wrote:


Maybe this will be the first step in getting power back to the people?



Which people?
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Sarxis wrote:
Donald wrote:


Maybe this will be the first step in getting power back to the people?


Which people?


You cannot seriously be in favor of gerrymandering.
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Steven Woodcock
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[q="Donald"]much blather bandied about[/]

The important "power to the people" change is a normal process for redistricting, and sometimes different states dispute this.

Sometimes the Democrats cheat win these changes, sometimes they don't. Duh.


Ferret
 
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Sarxis wrote:


Which people?


I was think of voters, represented by a fair, unbiased, and unskewed election process.

Sorry if you were think corporations. I should have been more specific.

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Donald wrote:
Maybe this will be the first step in getting power back to the people?
Sarxis wrote:
Which people?
Terwox wrote:


You cannot seriously be in favor of gerrymandering.
shake NOT "just & only" that; voter 'suppression', voter 'intimidation', voter 'discrimination', votes-machine 'manipulation', etc.
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News Flash-
States with heavy majorities for one party or another- usually but not always Republicans, they control more state houses- use the power of redistricting to ensure that they have a lock on state elections!!!

Next up-
Water? Still wet? We'll throw Tom in the lake to find out.

But first!
A blast from the internet past-Hamster Dance!

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Ferretman wrote:
[q="Donald"]much blather bandied about[/]

The important "power to the people" change is a normal process for redistricting, and sometimes different states dispute this.

Sometimes the Democrats cheat win these changes, sometimes they don't. Duh.


Ferret


The standard conservative response to any critique of gerrymandering being unfair is "both sides do it," which is an interesting response for two reasons.

First, because it doesn't dispute that gerrymandering to create an unfair is wrong, but instead suggests that blame should be equally spread. This is obviously wrong in and of itself because there are ways to measure the impact of gerrymandering - the simplest way is comparison of popular vote to number of congressional seats but there are more advanced models - and those ways show that presently, the GOP benefits far more from gerrymandering than the Democrats do.

Secondly, it dismisses taking any action to resolve the issue because "both sides benefit." This is of course intellectually dishonest as all get out because A) both sides don't benefit equally, B) it assumes that any proposal to rectify what is obviously an antidemocratic problem is going to come from one of the aforementioned sides (it's completely possible to say "gerrymandering is bad and neither side should benefit from it," for example), and C) having already tacitly admitted that there is a problem, it refuses to do anything about it.

So basically it's a non-response designed to disguise the fact that the responder actually supports an anti-democratic status quo.

(I note that Ferret here has tacked on a bit of snide complaint about Democrats "cheating" in some vague way, but that's just his extra little bonus because he's kind of stupid in addition to being ethically bereft.)
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Oh my god, please fucking bury partisan gerrymandering, across the board.

All rights in this country ultimately stem from the right to vote and to have your vote count. If I were going to be a single-issue voter on any topic, it would be voting rights.

And before any RSP cons jump on me about Voter ID, I'd be in favor of it as long as the implementation didn't transparently screw any particular class of eligible voters. Though I'll admit its third on my list of priorities (after partisan gerrymandering and ridiculously long lines at inner city polling places...though honestly, if we just deal with gerrymandering, I'm sort of fine with whatever we want to fix next).
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jasonwocky wrote:
Oh my god, please fucking bury partisan gerrymandering, across the board.

All rights in this country ultimately stem from the right to vote and to have your vote count. If I were going to be a single-issue voter on any topic, it would be voting rights.

And before any RSP cons jump on me about Voter ID, I'd be in favor of it as long as the implementation didn't transparently screw any particular class of eligible voters. Though I'll admit its third on my list of priorities (after partisan gerrymandering and ridiculously long lines at inner city polling places...though honestly, if we just deal with gerrymandering, I'm sort of fine with whatever we want to fix next).


Agreed-
I'd be ok with some form of Voter ID requirement (as long as the ID's were free, easily available, and not rigged to be difficult for some demographics that vote one way or the other to acquire) so long as the power to draw districts was taken away from the State houses.

Trick is- who do you give it to? And how do you ensure that they're doing this in a fair and equitable manner? And what does that even mean?

Darilian
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Drew1365 wrote:
Wisconsin conservatives know how . . . uniquely partisan Barbara Crabb is.


How does this translate into "In this case, she's wrong"?

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bjlillo wrote:
The bullshit these judges have tried to pull with our great reforms here shows how important it is to have Federal judges appointed by the right president.


What makes a president "The Right President"?

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bjlillo wrote:
The bullshit these judges have tried to pull with our great reforms here shows how important it is to have Federal judges appointed by the right president. That will most likely be the single best part of Trump's presidency if he doesn't manage to fuck it up.
Let's "quote" THIS for the 'posterior-posterity' it "evokes"! C
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Darilian wrote:
jasonwocky wrote:
Oh my god, please fucking bury partisan gerrymandering, across the board.

All rights in this country ultimately stem from the right to vote and to have your vote count. If I were going to be a single-issue voter on any topic, it would be voting rights.

And before any RSP cons jump on me about Voter ID, I'd be in favor of it as long as the implementation didn't transparently screw any particular class of eligible voters. Though I'll admit its third on my list of priorities (after partisan gerrymandering and ridiculously long lines at inner city polling places...though honestly, if we just deal with gerrymandering, I'm sort of fine with whatever we want to fix next).


Agreed-
I'd be ok with some form of Voter ID requirement (as long as the ID's were free, easily available, and not rigged to be difficult for some demographics that vote one way or the other to acquire) so long as the power to draw districts was taken away from the State houses.

Trick is- who do you give it to? And how do you ensure that they're doing this in a fair and equitable manner? And what does that even mean?

Darilian


Algorithmic open source solutions to districting already exist (and should be implemented.)
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Darilian wrote:
Trick is- who do you give it to? And how do you ensure that they're doing this in a fair and equitable manner? And what does that even mean?


I've heard tell of some states using "independent" entities to draw the district lines. Though if the SC was to hand out guidelines for what it would consider a fair result that doesn't abridge our rights to vote, the exact process probably wouldn't matter so much.
 
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If we aren't going to allow states to gerrymander for political advantage, then we should also redraw all the state lines.

Although establishing an algorithm to apportion state congressional districts would be a good start. Sometime like, start in northwest point of the state, move a mile east and a mile south. Continue until the correct number of eligible voters are contained. Repeat.
 
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qzhdad wrote:
If we aren't going to allow states to gerrymander for political advantage, then we should also redraw all the state lines.


States themselves have Constitutional rights that would make that untenable. Basically, it seems to me like you'd be essentially arguing for "whoever wins the popular vote, wins".
 
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bjlillo wrote:
The bullshit these judges have tried to pull with our great reforms here...


Great reforms if you're a partisan Republican, I suppose.

Quote:
Despite receiving 51 percent of the votes statewide in 2012, Democrats won only 39 of 99 Assembly seats. In 2014, Republicans won roughly the same percentage of votes statewide, but won 63 seats, a 24-seat disparity, judges wrote.
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jasonwocky wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
If we aren't going to allow states to gerrymander for political advantage, then we should also redraw all the state lines.


States themselves have Constitutional rights that would make that untenable. Basically, it seems to me like you'd be essentially arguing for "whoever wins the popular vote, wins".


No, not really. The states would be closer to the same size, but you still couldn't concentrate on only a few states and win.
 
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qzhdad wrote:
If we aren't going to allow states to gerrymander for political advantage, then we should also redraw all the state lines.

Although establishing an algorithm to apportion state congressional districts would be a good start. Sometime like, start in northwest point of the state, move a mile east and a mile south. Continue until the correct number of eligible voters are contained. Repeat.


There are more robust solutions that avoid some problems w/ that method, read more here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/06/03/this-...

(You can follow that pop press article through the code if you'd like too!)
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utoption2 wrote:
If they could get around to winning at the state level, including governorships and state legislators, maybe they could do the gerrymandering, but, alas they have not.


Because of the gerrymandering they can't win. They need to win to do something about the gerrymandering.

Your solution to repub gerrymandering is democ gerrymandering.

I need a drink.

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utoption2 wrote:
Yep, you got it figured out. The dems have really f*cked themselves royally. Good job on supporting all those liberally candidates.


Trying to think of a sadder statement than "because a party supported candidates they believed in, they accordingly deserve to have the other party make it systematically impossible for them to win" and failing
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Donald wrote:
Sarxis wrote:


Which people?


I was think of voters, represented by a fair, unbiased, and unskewed election process.



Ahh ok! So we agree that Trump should have won. Just making sure.
 
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bjlillo wrote:
The bullshit these judges have tried to pull with our great reforms here shows how important it is to have Federal judges appointed by the right president. That will most likely be the single best part of Trump's presidency if he doesn't manage to fuck it up.


Gerrymandering is rather easy to detect whether you're partisan or not. If a state has districts where 80% of voters favor a candidate from party A.... but many more districts where candidates from party B win with 55% of the vote... the system is likely to be gerrymandered.

It really is that simple.
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Sarxis wrote:
Donald wrote:
Sarxis wrote:


Which people?


I was think of voters, represented by a fair, unbiased, and unskewed election process.



Ahh ok! So we agree that Trump should have won. Just making sure.


Quote:
How about something not involving Trump?
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