But the Issue Remains Very Much Alive and In Play Here and Elsewhere
The Supreme Court of the United States this morning issued a decision in which they declined to rule on the merits of Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin state legislative gerrymandering case. There was essential agreement by the court that “standing” was at issue in this case, not the merits of the case itself, and that therefore this is not the vehicle in which to judge excessive partisanship as a constitutional matter at this time. The Court said unanimously that they were returning the Wisconsin case to the Federal District Court to give plaintiffs the opportunity to demonstrate specific and concrete harms as a result of partisan gerrymandering.
But the issue is far from “dead,” as guardians of the current, corrupt system might hope. The Wisconsin case – as well as one in Maryland and one in North Carolina – could still bring about a favorable decision on ending excessive partisan gerrymandering.
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court today did not to address the unconstitutionality of one of the most partisan gerrymanders of state legislative districts (2011) in American history, but we remain hopeful that standing can be addressed and we can win justice in the courts” said Jay Heck, the long-time executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. “We even more urgently renew our call on the Wisconsin Legislature to replace this broken system with a transparent, non-partisan process modeled after our neighbor, Iowa, in time for the 2021 redistricting cycle, if not before.” Heck added.
“I am disappointed with today’s non-decision by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Tim Cullen, the Chair of the CC/WI State Governing Board. “But this fight is not over until gerrymandering ends. We must move forward quickly to get fair voting maps in place as soon as possible,” he added. Cullen, a former State Senate majority leader, was a leading supporter of non-partisan redistricting reform in the Wisconsin Legislature.