Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Will The Supreme Court Fall Into A Political Thicket?

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments tempting it to plunge into an impenetrable political thicket. It will consider a lower court's ruling that, if allowed to stand, will require the judiciary to determine whether and when partisanship in drawing electoral districts — something as old as the Constitution — is unconstitutional. And courts will wrestle repeatedly with cases requiring them to decide how to decide how much partisanship is too much.
It is instructive that the phrase "partisan gerrymandering" — the drawing of district lines by one party to disadvantage the other — is a redundancy. It has been since 1812, when Massachusetts Democratic-Republicans, serving Gov. Elbridge Gerry, created a district resembling a salamander. By then, the practice was old hat for New York, which had been hard at it since 1788, the year the Constitution was ratified.
The practice has recently become hotly disputed. This is partly because Republicans control 66 of 98 partisan state legislative chambers, and both the legislatures and governorships of 26 states. (A challenge to Maryland's redistricting by Democrats is percolating in the judicial system.) And it is partly because some members of the political science professoriate, which is as ideologically monochromic as academia generally, are inventing metrics that supposedly provide objective standards for identifying partisanship that is unconstitutionally excessive.
Read the rest from George Will HERE.

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