Tag Archives: gerrymandering

‘I Can’t Overstate What a Farce This Is’: Trump DOJ Says It Is Still Reviewing ‘All Available Options’ to Revive Census Citizenship Question

The court filing came after Trump said he was considering an executive order and suggested—despite his own DOJ attorneys claiming otherwise—that the aim of the question is to redraw congressional districts

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-5-2019

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in last week claiming the administration’s rationale for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census seemed “contrived.” (Photo: @CensusCounts/Twitter)

In what one expert described as “an absurd filing,” the Trump administration told a federal judge on Friday that the Justice and Commerce departments “have been asked to reevaluate all available options” for including a citizenship question on the 2020 census, an effort which was effectively blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

The Supreme Court temporarily prevented the inclusion of the question on the grounds that the alleged rationale for doing so appeared “contrived,” a ruling which was cautiously welcomed by civil liberties and immigrant rights groups who accused the administration of attempting to rig the next national survey to create an electoral advantage for “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” Continue reading

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After Supreme Court decision, gerrymandering fix is up to voters

The Supreme Court is empty days before the justices vote to on the U.S. gerrymandering case. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.

The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.” Continue reading

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‘Explosive’ New Evidence Shows GOP ‘Weaponizing’ the 2020 Census With Citizenship Question to Rig Elections

A Republican redistricting strategist who died last year left behind documents that critics call a “smoking gun” in the right-wing effort to exploit the census for electoral advantage

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2019

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in June about the legality of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. (Photo: @CensusCounts/Twitter)

Just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, previously undisclosed documents found on the hard drives of a deceased Republican operative offer “explosive” new evidence that the GOP fought for the question to create an electoral advantage for “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Federal district judges in New York and California ruled earlier this year that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the next census violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The Supreme Court heard arguments in April and is expected to issue a ruling in June. Continue reading

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Smacks Down GOP Gerrymandered Congressional Map

Decision hailed as ‘major victory for all Pennsylvanians’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-22-2018

Thanks to the new decision, said the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, “The new maps could result in a delegation that more closely resembles the will of Pennsylvania’s voters.” (Photo: Penn State/Flickr/cc)

Pennsylvania’s high court on Monday ruled that the state’s gerrymandered congressional map “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violates the state constitution and ordered the state to draw up a new map to be used in the primary.

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today ruled in favor of voters choosing politicians rather than politicians choosing voters, and that is major victory for all Pennsylvanians,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, which filed an amicus brief in the case. “The court order will result in new maps in time for the 2018 election so that voters will not be forced to face a fourth congressional election under these unconstitutionally gerrymandered congressional districts.” Continue reading

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Thanks to the North Carolina case, partisan gerrymandering’s day of reckoning may soon be upon us

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The word ‘gerrymandering’ comes from the name of Elbridge Gerry, Massachusetts governor in the 1800s. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Christopher Beem, Pennsylvania State University

Gerrymandering was already shaping up to be an important issue this year, with huge implications for American democracy. But after the ruling this week on the North Carolina congressional map, the stakes have been raised still higher.

For the first time, a federal panel of judges ruled that a state’s map of its congressional districts was unconstitutional. The North Carolina map didn’t just give an advantage to Republicans – it manifested “invidious partisan intent.” The panel directed the state to draw the districts again by Jan. 24. Continue reading

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Trump’s “Frightening” Pick for Top Census Job Thinks “Competitive Elections Are Bad for America”

Thomas Brunell is a political science professor with no government experience, and would politicize the agency tasked with counting every resident of the U.S.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 11-21-2017

The U.S. Census is a nonpartisan accounting of every person who lives in the country, but President Trump’s top pick for its new deputy director could politicize the Census Bureau with his views on redistricting. (Photo: PaulSh/Flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump’s top pick for deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau is the author of a book about the dangers of a competitive electoral system—leading to fears among voting rights advocates that the appointment would lead to a politicization of the agency which is heavily involved in how voting districts are drawn.

Thomas Brunelll, a political science professor at the University of Texas, is the author of the 2008 book Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America, in which he argued that voting districts packed with like-minded voters are fairer than those with a mix of Democratic and Republican voters. Continue reading

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#FairMaps: Pro-Democracy Rally as Supreme Court Hears ‘Most Significant’ Voting Rights Case in Decades

“Make no mistake about it: Extreme partisan gerrymandering is corruption. It’s a cancer on democracy. End it now!”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-3-2017

“Gerrymandering has no value in our democracy,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil and Human Rights. (Photo: Janai Nelson/Twitter)

Wielding signs that read “hands off our districts” and “you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your voters,” hundreds of civil rights advocates, lawyers, and lawmakers rallied in the nation’s capital Tuesday as the Supreme Court heard arguments in a landmark redistricting case that poses “the most serious challenge to gerrymandering in modern times.”

The case under consideration—Gill v. Whitford—is the result of a lawsuit filed by Wisconsin voters and the Campaign Legal Center in 2015 alleging that Republican-drawn state district lines violated the rights of Democratic voters. In 2016, a federal court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, arguing that the GOP’s district maps amounted to “an aggressive partisan gerrymander” and ordered the lines redrawn.  Continue reading

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Rev. William Barber Says GOP Voter Suppression the ‘Real Hacking’ of US Democracy

“We would not be having this healthcare deconstruction if we had the Voting Rights Act!”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2017

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber. Photo: YouTube

In an effort to bring national attention to “homegrown voter suppression” and to launch a campaign of “moral resistance” against Republican attempts to strip healthcare from millions, Rev. William J. Barber and other faith leaders marched in Washington on Friday just ahead of the anniversary of a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Writing for NBC News prior to the march, Barber—a member of the NAACP national board of directors and a key figure in the successful effort to overturn North Carolina’s racially gerrymandered districts—argued that absent deliberate efforts by Republican lawmakers to prevent minorities from voting, a Donald Trump victory “would have never been possible.” Continue reading

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Supreme Court Quietly Denies North Carolina Redistricting Delay

Congressional districts must be redrawn, delaying elections for months. ‘What a mess in North Carolina,’ writes voting rights expert.

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-20-2016

A lower court ruling issued earlier this month will be left intact and elections in the state's 1st and 12th districts, both majority black, will be paused until new maps are approved. (Photo: Matt Wade/flickr/cc)

A lower court ruling issued earlier this month will be left intact and elections in the state’s 1st and 12th districts, both majority black, will be paused until new maps are approved. (Photo: Matt Wade/flickr/cc)

Late Friday night, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay a ruling that ordered two North Carolina congressional districts to be redrawn.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, that means a lower court ruling issued earlier this month will be left intact and elections in the state’s 1st and 12th districts, both majority black, will be paused until new maps are approved.

The order, which is one of the first significant actions the court has taken since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last week, was issued in a one-line ruling with little explanation. Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlog reports: Continue reading

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