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Full Version: Gerrymandering -- doomed?
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A couple weeks ago, a court ruled against a very partisan gerrymander in North Carolina. Now, Pennsylvania, where Democrats outnumber Republicans in registration although the state's Congressional districts are split 13  R-5D.

Quote:HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the state’s congressional map Monday, granting a major victory to Democrats who charged that the 18 districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans.

In a 4-3 decision, the Democratic-controlled court said the boundaries “clearly, plainly and palpably” violate the state’s constitution, and blocked it from remaining in effect for the 2018 elections.
The justices gave the Republican-controlled Legislature until Feb. 9 to pass a replacement and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf until Feb. 15 to submit it to the court. Otherwise, the justices said they will adopt a plan in an effort to keep the May 15 primary election on track.

The deadline to file paperwork to run in primaries for the state’s congressional seats is March 6.
“We won the whole thing,” said David Gersch of the Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer law firm in Washington, D.C., which is helping represent the group of registered Democrats who filed the lawsuit last June.

the AP wire itself
If you thought that the Michigan  representation map looks fishy and couldn't quite place why... then e-mails among the participants have shown the process in which the maps were made. It's classic pack-and-sack, conceding a few ultra-safe Democratic seats and then diluting the rest in rural country. For example, the Lansing-East Lansing metro area was split so that people in that area were consigned to safe R districts.

Quote:Republicans in the state have denied that they sought partisan gain when they drew new legislative boundaries in 2011. But a federal lawsuit, which argues the maps are unconstitutional, has unearthed records showing Republicans intent on drawing boundaries that would help their party.

The emails, disclosed in a filing on Monday, boast of concentrating “Dem garbage” into four of the five southeast Michigan districts that Democrats now control, and of packing African-Americans into a metropolitan Detroit House district. One email likened a fingerlike extension they created in one Democratic district map to an obscene gesture toward its congressman, Representative Sander M. Levin.

“Perfect. It’s giving the finger to Sandy Levin,” the author of the message wrote. “I love it.”

Under the gerrymander, Michigan has had a House delegation reliably 9R and 5D despite the state usually splitting its House votes slightly D.

Quote:The Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymanders this spring, and many experts say they believe Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement announcement last month have lowered the odds that the court will outlaw the practice.

“It looks like naked partisanship, and that might be permissible,” said Barry Burden, the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “If it’s merely one party trying to harm the fortunes of the other, the court thus far has given that the green light, and it might continue to.”

(Cue theme from Dragnet).