Wisconsin's partisan gerrymander - created in 2011 by legislative aides and hired consultants in a secret room in a private law office - employed the latest mapping technology to create a district plan that is one of the most extremely gerrymandered state legislative plans in the last four decades.
"In this case, what the plaintiffs have effectively asked the court to do is gerrymander in favor or competitiveness, that is, to draw maps that compensate for the natural disadvantage the Democrats might have because their voters are more geographically concentrated". The Court will face a stark choice: allow politicians to continue rigging the rules of the game to their own advantage, harming voters in the process, or allow courts to police and correct the worst partisan power grabs from the redistricting process. And there's also a dark cloud hanging over this case - and, indeed, the next several decades of life in the United States - that will matter just as much as whether Kennedy buys the plaintiffs' theory in Whitford.
This left fertile ground in the rest of the state for Republicans to win more legislative seats. Kennedy, writing in a 2004 case, indicated he may be open to the idea that racial gerrymanders could violate the Constitution.
The answer should be easy: the Constitution exists to prevent the very kind of political entrenchment that partisan gerrymandering represents. The court in a separate order delayed the drawing of new state Assembly district boundaries. Can politicians take politics into account when picking who their voters will be? North Carolina's congressional delegation tilts 10-3 Republican.
Whichever party controls the Legislature after the 2020 election would have a shot at drawing legislative boundaries for the next decade. Both Democrats and Republicans do it.
The challenge to Wisconsin's legislative lines are different because the challenge revolves around whether district lines can be drawn for a partisan advantage. If the Supreme Court rules that partisan gerrymandering such as this is unconstitutional, then our democracy will be protected from such cases of minority rule. But "while some might find it distasteful, our prior decisions have made clear that a jurisdiction may engage in constitutional political gerrymandering".
Do you think the state of Wisconsin stands to lose or gain anything?
"Gerrymandering" refers to the practice of drawing legislative district lines to favor incumbents, political parties or interest groups.
The efficiency gap measures the difference between the wasted votes of the two parties in an election divided by the total number of votes cast. In essence, the standard, created by a law professor and a political science professor, provides a numerical way to test the partisan disadvantage in a redistricting plan.
Although the court did not explain its willingness to schedule a hearing at the same time that it voted to block the lower court ruling in the meantime, its actions on Monday were not favorable to the challengers of the Wisconsin plan. He has covered the Supreme Court since November 2006. But the court has never struck down a map because of partisan gerrymandering. The lower court did devise a constitutional formula for judging when a partisan gerrymander did go too far.
While the Supreme Court has ruled on many aspects of the districting process - banning state legislative districts with unequal populations and banning districts meant to disenfranchise black voters - it has issued muddled opinions on the question of whether partisan gerrymanders are unconstitutional.
Election rules should be impartial.