The Supreme Court has recently revealed that they will be considering the Wisconsin gerrymandering case regarding voting district lines. Challengers say that these district lines were purposefully re-drawn to give the Republican party an unfair advantage during elections and to keep Democrats from being elected.
The Supreme Court has already ruled that redrawing electoral district maps to substantially benefit a specific political party is illegal, but what degree of “benefit” is illegal has never truly been identified. However, it is said that such manipulation of voter district maps can violate the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of those citizens belonging to the affected party.
The district map in question were drawn in 2011 by the state’s lawmakers, who were mostly Republican. The new map was declared “so blatantly partisan that it denied Democrats a fair opportunity to have its candidates elected,” in a 2-1 vote by three federal judges, and was shot down. Sources say that this earlier ruling also stated that it was evident that the map had been designed to make it more difficult for Democratic candidates to “translate their votes into seats.”
In spite of this, Wisconsin has requested that their current district maps be “frozen” until the Supreme Court can hear the case during the next term. The courts have reportedly granted this request.
A law professor from the University of Kentucky College of Law with a specialty in voting rights and election law named Josh Douglas told CNN, “This will be the biggest and most important election law case in decades. However the Court rules will affect elections for years to come.”
Given that this is the second gerrymandering case this year, many are wondering how the courts will rule. Earlier this year, they sided with North Carolina Democrats who claimed that the majority of the state’s African Americans were placed into just two districts, which purportedly affected the impact of their votes.