New York Times: How a Wisconsin Case Before Justices Could Reshape Redistricting


How egregiously can a majority party gerrymander a political map before it violates the Constitution?

The Supreme Court has tried to answer that question for 30 years. On Tuesday, it will try again, hearing arguments in a case involving the Wisconsin State Assembly that could remake an American political landscape rived by polarization and increasingly fenced off for partisan advantage.


In the Wisconsin case, the plaintiffs — a band of Democrats backed by local lawyers and an advocacy group, the Campaign Legal Center — seek to expand the one-person-one-vote principle to partisan gerrymanders. By drawing a legislative map that effectively guarantees Republican victories in many Assembly districts, they say, Republican legislators rendered Democratic votes worthless, or at least worth less than Republican ones. That violates not only the Equal Protection Clause, they contend, but also the First Amendment, because it amounts to government-ordered punishment of Democrats for expressing their political preference at the ballot box.

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