Maps in Four States Were Ruled Illegal Gerrymanders. They’re Being Used Anyway (1 Viewer)

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    Feb 5, 2020
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    in a van down by the river
    This is why I have no faith in this country anymore

    David Wasserman, who follows congressional redistricting for the Cook Political Report, said that using rejected maps in the four states, which make up nearly 10 percent of the seats in the House, was likely to hand Republicans five to seven House seats that they otherwise would not have won.

    Some election law scholars say they are troubled by the consequences in the long run.

    “We’re seeing a revolution in courts’ willingness to allow elections to go forward under illegal or unconstitutional rules,” Richard L. Hasen, a professor at the U.C.L.A. School of Law and the director of its Safeguarding Democracy Project, said in an interview. “And that’s creating a situation in which states are getting one free illegal election before they have to change their rules.”

    Behind much of the change is the Supreme Court’s embrace of an informal legal doctrine stating that judges should not order changes in election procedures too close to an actual election. In a 2006 case, Purcell v. Gonzalez, the court refused to stop an Arizona voter ID law from taking effect days before an election because that could “result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls.”

    The Purcell principle, as it is called, offers almost no guidance beyond that. But the Supreme Court has significantly broadened its scope in this decade, mostly through rulings on applications that seek emergency relief such as stays of lower court rulings, in which the justices’ reasoning often is cryptic or even unexplained.
    I don't want them creating districts based on race.

    I get why it was done, but i think the negative outweighs the good now.

    What I want are more competitive districts. By isolating the black vote, it creates safe red districts. I'd rather Alabama have 4 purple districts than 2 black ones.
    That won't happen in today's Alabama... nor Louisiana... nor Mississippi...
    That won't happen in today's Alabama... nor Louisiana... nor Mississippi...

    Not the way it's done now.

    For example, if there was a congressional district that covered North LA along and just south I-20 that had both Shreveport and Monroe and everything in between, i bet it would be a competitive purple district. it would have about the right amount of people too.

    The voters in that district would have more in common with the people in rural south and central LA that they share congressmen with now too.
    so what should the penalty be for this?

    The court rules that a district map is unconstitutional, illegal and or racist

    The state says 'fork you, we're using the map'

    Now what?
    is there even a mechanism to do that? To say that a state will have no representatives until they use a better district map? Is that even legal?

    Not at all, I assume. There has to be some sort of mechanism to punish people and groups who openly defy the courts, though.
    I think the court appoints a grand master or a bipartisan panel to redraw the maps and makes them use the new map.
    I think the court appoints a grand master or a bipartisan panel to redraw the maps and makes them use the new map.

    I present to you the special master, Cheeseboy:

    I don't want them creating districts based on race.

    I get why it was done, but i think the negative outweighs the good now.

    What I want are more competitive districts. By isolating the black vote, it creates safe red districts. I'd rather Alabama have 4 purple districts than 2 black ones.
    I would like that tradeoff, but it would be hard to create 4 purple districts in Alabama.
    I would like that tradeoff, but it would be hard to create 4 purple districts in Alabama.

    Probably, but going from 70/30 to 55/45 or so would make a big difference in some of those districts.

    They did elect a democrat Senator over a child rapist a few years ago, so there is hope in Alabama.
    In mid-August, lawyers representing Florida Republicans made a startling admission. The state’s new congressional map, drawn by governor Ron DeSantis, made it harder for Black voters in north Florida to elect the candidate of their choosing. On Sunday, a judge in Florida ruled the map was unlawful.

    From 2016 until last year, Florida’s fifth congressional district had stretched more than 150 miles across the northern part of the state, from Jacksonville to just west of Tallahassee. It was a portion of the state once home to the Ku Klux Klan and lynchings. In 2022, it was represented by Al Lawson, a Black Democrat, and 46% of eligible voters were Black.

    That year, DeSantis went out of his way to chop the district up into four majority-white ones, all of which elected a Republican last fall.

    “It limits their voice. It limits their representation in Congress. It limits the goods and services that they are expected to receive,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark, the founder of Equal Ground, a voter engagement non-profit that challenged the maps. “The needs from north Florida are different from south Florida. The representation should match those needs as well.”

    It was the kind of concession that politicians, wary of doing anything that could be perceived as motivated by racial animus, rarely make. And it was particularly striking in Florida, where a provision in the state’s constitution specifically outlaws diminishing the influence of Black voters in that way. Voters overwhelmingly approved that provision as part of a set of anti-gerrymandering reforms, called the fair districts amendment, in 2010.

    So it was no surprise that circuit judge J Lee Marsh struck down the map. “Under the stipulated facts [in the lawsuit], plaintiffs have shown that the enacted plan results in the diminishment of Black voters’ ability to elect their candidate of choice in violation of the Florida constitution,” he wrote in his ruling.

    “It’s more like common sense,” said Brenda Holt, a Democratic county commissioner in Gadsden county, which was on the western edge of Lawson’s old district and is the only majority-Black county in Florida.

    DeSantis is already appealing the ruling and the case is likely to be decided by the Florida supreme court, where he has appointed five of the seven justices. And the governor has his sights set on an even bigger goal – getting rid of the protection in the state constitution altogether. It’s an aggressive legal gambit that’s part of a broader conservative push in the courts to limit considerations of race in redistricting, even when it’s being used to protect voters of color.

    The most sweeping reading of the state’s argument is “that there are an extremely narrow set of circumstances in which states can do anything to remediate discrimination in a way that takes race into account at all”, said Nicholas Warren, a lawyer with the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “DeSantis wants to provoke the ultimate win. He wants to have the battle.”

    While there are legal battles over Black representation in redistricting underway across the US south, the fight in Florida is unique. Other cases are focused on whether states like Alabama and Louisiana are required to add districts to ensure Black voters can choose their preferred candidate, but the Florida case is the only one that involves dismantling an existing district that was allowing Black voters to do so.

    In 2015, the Florida supreme court ordered the state to adopt the current configuration of the fifth congressional district to preserve the ability of Black voters in that part of Florida to elect the candidate they want – most recently Lawson. Once the district went into place, it became illegal for the state to get rid of it under the Florida constitution..........

    If you need a reminder that the Republican party’s problem with democracy extends beyond the antics of Donald Trump, look no further than Wisconsin. A battle is under way there which began before the January 6 insurrection was even a twinkle in Trump’s eye, and which will do much to determine the future of democracy in America whether Trump ultimately answers for his crimes or not. It’s no exaggeration to say that Wisconsin and its state capitol, Madison, are now the front line of the battle to save American democracy.

    In 2011, Republicans gerrymandered Wisconsin’s state legislature so badly that the party can win supermajorities despite losing the popular vote, as it did in 2018. Voters have fought back, and earlier this year they elected Janet Protasiewicz to the state supreme court, ushering in a new liberal majority which looked poised to finally overturn the gerrymander and bring democratic regime change to Madison.

    But Wisconsin Republicans have no intention of seeing their undeserved power slip away. They’re proposing to impeach Protasiewicz on spurious charges before she has ruled on a single case, paralyzing the court and leaving the gerrymander intact.

    When Trump argued that he was the real winner of the election because the votes of people living in Democratic-leaning urban areas were somehow fraudulent and should not count, he was repeating arguments that Wisconsin Republicans had already honed. The speaker of the state assembly, Robin Vos, has explained that the state’s gerrymander is fair because “if you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority”. Because Madison and Milwaukee are the parts of the state with the largest concentration of non-white voters, Vos has revealed what the Wisconsin gerrymander is really about: race.

    There is a long history in the United States of skewed electoral systems being used to suppress the voices of minority voters, and Wisconsin’s is only the latest example. Like their predecessors in other states, Wisconsin Republicans have been remarkably frank about their intention of ensuring that minorities stay in their place. When Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers powered to victory in 2018 with massive wins in Madison and Milwaukee, the Republican legislature used a lame-duck session to strip him of much of his power. Not content with that, Evers’ Republican opponent in 2022, Tim Michels, promised that if he was elected then Republicans in Wisconsin “will never lose another election”.

    The latest target of this raw, racist power politics is the Wisconsin’s electorate new choice for the state supreme court. Protasiewicz won by more than 10% on record turnout, which was spurred by widespread voter dissatisfaction with the fruits of Republican rule. In particular, voters oppose the state’s harsh anti-abortion law, which makes abortion illegal unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother, with no exceptions for other medical problems or rape. A majority of Wisconsinites wanted a liberal state supreme court which would overturn that law, and they voted accordingly.

    By linking abortion rights to questions of democracy, Protasiewicz came up with a playbook that can be used across America to push back against attacks on basic constitutional rights, be they in the doctor’s office or the voting booth. That’s why Republicans are so scared of her and desperate to find a way to stop her from succeeding.

    Republicans’ plan to impeach Protasiewicz is nakedly hypocritical: They argue that Protasiewicz, who received Democratic campaign donations, cannot give unbiased rulings in gerrymandering cases – despite the fact that numerous other Wisconsin state supreme court justices, including Republicans, have also received party donations and ruled on cases with political implications...................

    CNN) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an emergency bid from Alabama, setting the stage for a new congressional map that will likely include a second Black majority district to account for the state’s 27% Black population

    The one-line order reflects that the feelings on the court haven’t changed since June when a 5-4 Supreme Court affirmed a lower court that had ordered the state to redraw its seven-seat congressional map to include a second majority-Black district or “something quite close to it.”…..


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