Ice cans down the street
June 18, 2018, 10:33 am by Sam Wang
From comments (click on image for full decision):The Supreme Court has an opinion on the lawsuit against Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone. First, the good news is: The courts love our math! The bad news: they thought it answered the First Amendment request and they decided this was the case with the Fourteenth Amendment.
In summary, the main points:
- They are sending Gill back to Wisconsin to work on the pretext that a plaintiff is needed in every county. The court focused on vote dilution, which they believe was a requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment. They scolded the plaintiffs for not spending much time on the First Amendment request. It’s not a win or a loss, it’s a bet. Read more at SCOTUSblog.
- In the Court’s opinion, this requirement must be decided on a per-district basis. They say alternative maps that show the harm of individual voters could be helpful. This is a loss for those of us who think statewide measures are the way to demonstrate a representational harm.
- Kagan has one Your 4-contest that points to a possible path forward, based on the principles of the First Amendment. It leaves the potential to cause harm statewide. Noah Feldman analysis. Kennedy did not sign that opinion, either because he disagreed or because he is keeping his dough dry for now.
- Benisek, the Maryland decision, was also made today. That’s less interesting – a loss for the reformers but it’s essentially a wait-and-see ruling, on the basis of Gill being a bad guy. There’s not much left to say now.
- North Carolina (Rucho v. Common Cause) could be debated next fall. It presents various theories. It was actually a better-executed decision that would come up with better law than what is presented in Gill.
The next front is state reform. In places like Michigan and Virginia, state-by-state voter initiatives and laws could do what the Supreme Court did not do today. So our plans at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project will move forward!