A panel of federal judges on Monday ruled that Wisconsin’s 2011 legislative redistricting plan, created by Republican leaders virtually in secret, is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.I really hope that the ruling sticks, but I expect that whatever partisan hack that Trump appoints to be on the prevailing side of a 5-4 decision saying that the voters can go Cheney themselves.
The map “was intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic voters … by impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats,” wrote federal appeals court Judge Kenneth Ripple, the senior judge on the three-judge panel, adding that “the discriminatory effect is not explained by the political geography of Wisconsin nor is it justified by a legitimate state interest.
“Consequently, Act 43 constitutes an unconstitutional political gerrymander,” Ripple wrote.
The 116-page decision, with a 40-page dissent from U.S. District Judge William Griesbach, was issued several months after the panel heard testimony in federal court in Madison. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, the third judge on the panel, joined Ripple in the court’s 2-1 decision.
The Democrats contend they have found a way to measure unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders designed to give a “large and durable” advantage in elections to one party — a measure the U.S. Supreme Court said was lacking in previous redistricting cases. The measure, called the efficiency gap, shows how cracking (breaking up blocs of Democratic voters) and packing (concentrating Democrats within certain districts) results in wasted votes — excess votes for the winners in safe districts and perpetually inadequate votes for the losers.
Lawyers for the Democrats said the 2011 plan, which changed boundaries for all of the state’s Congressional and state Senate and Assembly districts, was drawn specifically to disenfranchise Democratic voters.
Republicans have countered that as the majority party, they can draw the maps any way they choose, short of creating districts that disenfranchise racial minorities.
21 November 2016
A federal court has just ruled that Wisconsin's state house district are an unconstitutional Gerrymander: