LWV Optimistic As Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Extreme Gerrymandering Case

Wisconsin Case Will Have National Impact on Redistricting

WASHINGTON - The Court today agreed to take up the partisan gerrymandering case from Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford.  It will be heard next term, which begins in October and runs through June 2018. 

The Court also granted the State's request for a stay, which blocks the lower court’s ruling that new district maps must be drawn by November of this year for elections in 2018.

"This is a critical step forward in the battle against excessive partisan gerrymandering," said League of Women Voters president Chris Carson. "The decision in the lower court provides a formula that could be used to judge whether a redistricting plan is an unconstitutional political gerrymander.  Members of the Court have been looking for a formula or standard, and the decision in this case will likely set the path for redistricting in 2020 and beyond.  The essential question is whether the Court will finally accept a new standard and block partisan gerrymandering, or continue the Court's stated disapproval of excessive partisan gerrymandering while never finding one to overrule," Carson continued. 

Continuing the League of Women Voters deep commitment to redistricting reform, the Leagues in North Carolina and Pennsylvania have brought similar cases to that in Wisconsin, both of which will likely be determined by the outcome in the case in front of the high court.  

"Partisan gerrymandering has grown much more severe and contributes significantly to the polarization in Congress," Carson continued. "For democracy to work effectively, we must have political competition between opposing views.  Partisan gerrymandering stalls democracy because politicians can effectively give safe districts to themselves and their political parties."

"Partisan gerrymandering is simply wrong," Carson said, "because voters should choose their representatives -- elected official should not choose their voters."

"We are counting on the Supreme Court for a historic decision that will safeguard our election system and our democracy. We need a decision like the 'one person - one vote' decision that stopped some types of gerrymandering in the 1960s. The Court has an opportunity to make our elections fair and open,” Carson concluded.

 

Contact: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 | scourtney@lwv.org