Supreme Court says federal courts have no role in policing gerrymandering

Mar 2012
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The court's ruling means that courts will not have a role to play in reviewing partisan gerrymandering claims.

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that federal courts may not block partisan gerrymandering in a 5-4 decision that fell along partisan lines.

It is 5-4. Kagan dissents, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.

Toward the end of the opinion, Roberts acknowledges that "excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust." But that does not mean, he says, that "the solution lies with the federal judiciary. We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts."

SCOTUSblog - The Supreme Court of the United States blog
 
Mar 2012
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Justice Kagan's closing paragraph: "Of all times to abandon the Court’s duty to declare the law, this was not the one. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections. With respect but deep sadness, I dissent. "
 
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Feb 2011
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This is exactly the type of opinion/dissent that legitimizes accusations against Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg that they think justices should legislate what they view as "good" vs. "bad" policy from the bench.

It's too bad most lay people who read headlines about this case will probably assume it means the liberal justices are against gerrymandering and the conservative justices are for it.

Snippets from the Opinion:

As noted, the Framers gave Congress the power to do something about partisan gerrymandering in the Elections Clause.
Dozens of other bills have been introduced to limit reliance on political considerations in redistricting.
We express no view on any of these pending proposals. We simply note that the avenue for reform established by the Framers, and used by Congress in the past, remains open.

No one can accuse this Court of having a crabbed view of the reach of its competence. But we have no commission to allocate political power and influence in the absence of a constitutional directive or legal standards to guide us in the exercise of such authority.
 
Jul 2013
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I am glad to be old enough that I likely won't see the collapse of this country.
I hear you, brother. The right has gone off the rails with this partisan bullshit and our country is suffering mightily because of it. Cheering on gerrymandering, WTF?
 
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Dec 2015
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Well how truly convenient for the Republican Majority on the Court to rule that way and totally in favor of something that actually helps them and their political party with utter disregard for the practice of gerrymandering which is wrong! They have now forgotten what their role on the Court truly is with that very partisan ruling. That should serve as a good reminder of the great problem in not voting Democratic in presidential and other elections!
 
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I said:
(post #3) "It's too bad most lay people who read headlines about this case will probably assume it means the liberal justices are against gerrymandering and the conservative justices are for it."
OldGaffer said:
(post #5) "Cheering on gerrymandering, WTF?"
DemoWhip said:
(post #6) "how truly convenient for the Republican Majority on the Court to rule that way and totally in favor of something..."
Childsplay. I set a trap for you and warn you in advance that it's there, and you literally run straight into the trap as fast as you can.
 
Jul 2013
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Childsplay. I set a trap for you and warn you in advance that it's there, and you literally run straight into the trap as fast as you can.
And yet gerrymandering stays in effect and now has legal standing to be even more partisan and egregious.<shrug>
I guess that is cool if you want minority rule of this country.
 
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  • Elena Kagan dissent:
  • “The majority’s abdication comes just when courts across the country, including those below, have coalesced around manageable judicial standards to resolve partisan gerrymandering claims.”
  • “Maybe the majority errs in these cases because it pays so little attention to the constitutional harms at their core. After dutifully reciting each case’s facts, the majority leaves them forever behind, instead immersing itself in everything that could conceivably go amiss if courts became involved.”
  • “The majority’s idea instead seems to be that if we have lived with partisan gerrymanders so long, we will survive. That complacency has no cause. Yes, partisan gerrymandering goes back to the Republic’s earliest days. (As does vociferous opposition to it.) But big data and modern technology—of just the kind that the mapmakers in North Carolina and Maryland used—make today’s gerrymandering altogether different from the crude line-drawing of the past.”
  • “For the first time in this Nation’s history, the majority declares that it can do nothing about an acknowledged constitutional violation because it has searched high and low and cannot find a workable legal standard to apply.”
  • n throwing up its hands, the majority misses something under its nose: What it says can’t be done has been done. Over the past several years, federal courts across the country—including, but not exclusively, in the decisions below—have largely converged on a standard for adjudicating partisan gerrymandering claims (striking down both Democratic and Republican districting plans in the process).”
    [*]“Of all times to abandon the Court’s duty to declare the law, this was not the one. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections. With respect but deep sadness, I dissent.”
    [*]‘Tragically Wrong’: 6 Brutal Lines from Justice Kagan’s Gerrymandering Dissent
 
Feb 2011
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And yet gerrymandering stays in effect and now has legal standing to be even more partisan and egregious.<shrug>
I guess that is cool if you want minority rule of this country.
This wasn't a case that asked justices to decide whether gerrymandering is good or bad, or whether it should be allowed or not. It was a case that had to do with what federal judges' jobs are versus what they aren't. I recommend reading the opinion before spouting further nonsense.