Supreme Court Will Hear Gerrymandering Case

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a gerrymandering case:

The case started when Republicans gained complete control of Wisconsin’s government in 2010 for the first time in more than 40 years. It was a redistricting year, and lawmakers promptly drew a map for the State Assembly that helped Republicans convert very close statewide vote totals into lopsided legislative majorities.

In 2012, Republicans won 48.6 percent of the statewide vote for Assembly candidates but captured 60 of the Assembly’s 99 seats. In 2014, 52 percent of the vote yielded 63 seats.

The Supreme Court has never tossed out a redistricting map based on concerns about partisan (as opposed to racial) gerrymandering. With gerrymandering now far more widespread thanks to the use of mapping software, will they finally take the opportunity to rein it in? Rick Hasen provides reason to keep our expectations modest:

About an hour after the Court issued its order agreeing to hear this case, it issued a second order, on a 5-4 vote, granting a stay of the lower court order in this case. The four liberal Justices dissented….So this stay order raises a big question mark for those who think Court will use the case to rein in partisan gerrymandering.

Last year a district court ordered Wisconsin to produce a new, less partisan map in time for the 2018 election. The vote to stay this order suggests that five members of the Supreme Court are leaning in the direction of doing nothing about Wisconsin’s gerrymander.