The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Republicans in Wisconsin tilted district maps in their favor in order to hamper Democrats and ultimately win state elections in 2012 and 2014, a federal court said on Monday in a case that could influence future rulings on gerrymandering.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin decided 2-1 that Act 43, a redrawing of districts approved by the state’s Republican-led legislature in 2012, violated the U.S. Constitution, court documents showed.

“We find that the discriminatory effect is not explained by the political geography of Wisconsin nor is it justified by a legitimate state interest,” the court wrote in its ruling.

The case has no bearing on Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin in the presidential election on Nov. 8, in which he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement that he planned to appeal, which would send the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A ruling there on gerrymandering – the practice of manipulating electoral boundaries for political advantage – could have wide implications across the country as similar cases in Maryland and North Carolina work their way through lower courts.

“This is a big victory for those who want to see courts rein in partisan gerrymandering. But it is anybody’s guess what happens to this when it gets to the Supreme Court,” wrote Richard Hasen, an elections law expert at the University of California, Irvine, on his blog.

Since 2010, Republicans have more than doubled their control of state legislatures. They now control both legislative chambers in a record 32 states, the New York Times reported.

“Republicans win elections because we have better candidates and a better message that continues to resonate with the voters,” said Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in a statement.

Twelve Wisconsin voters argued in their lawsuit that Republicans redrew maps in 2011 to divide Democratic voters so they fall short of a majority in districts and to concentrate Democratic voters into districts so they win by overwhelming margins and dilute votes of Democrats statewide, according to the ruling.

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.

The Wisconsin case hinged on a new way to measure the discriminatory effect of gerrymandering. The “efficiency gap” measure found the redistricting in Wisconsin caused Democrats to waste more votes than Republicans.

The measure gives judges “a clear threshold for deciding what is acceptable”, Barry Burden, the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the New York Times.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

IMAGE: Voters wait in line to cast their ballots during early voting at the Franklin County Board of Elections in Columbus, in Columbus, Ohio U.S., October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

New Poll Reveals Problems For Trump--And His Party

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump Testifying To January ^ Committee Is Vital

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is the focus of a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}