A Supreme Court that puts new restrictions on clean-up efforts
States and lower court judges use the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as a cover for race-based gerrymanders. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court declared foul by blocking Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ legislative card.
The unsigned order of the court in Wisconsin Legislature v Wisconsin Elections Commission Impales the governor and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. “Under the equal protection clause, precinct maps sorting voters by race are ‘inherently despicable,'” writes the majority. Mr. Evers welcomed “precisely the kind of uncritical majority-minority district maximization that we specifically rejected.”
In a dissenting opinion, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan called the majority decision in response to a stay request “unprecedented”. But Mr. Evers’ racist gerrymander was outrageous, and lower court judges consistently misapplied court precedents. The majority is doing the legislature and courts a service by seeking to clarify their newly-limiting jurisprudence.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted Mr. Evers’ proposed card after a deadlock with the GOP legislation. The map intentionally created seven majority-black state assembly districts — one more than on the current map — which likely would have ensured at least one more secure Democratic seat.
Mr. Evers argued that seven majority-minority districts were necessary to comply with Section 2 of the VRA, which requires minorities to have equal opportunities “to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.” The court is confusing gingle The precedent interpreted this as a ban on minority vote dilution.
States can demonstrate compliance with Section 2 by drawing majority-minority districts. but gingle Also, numerous prerequisites for the creation of these districts were set to ensure states did not sort voters by race. Mr. Evers did not comply with these requirements, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court gave them only superficial consideration.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court “focused solely on proportionality” and failed to consider “whether a race-neutral alternative that does not add a seventh-majority black district would deny black voters equal political opportunities,” writes the Supreme Court majority . His order remanded the card to the state Supreme Court, emphasizing that a new card “must comply with our jurisprudence on equal protection.”
The liberal dissidents are right that the court’s precedent on redistributing districts is “vague,” a point Chief Justice John Roberts made last month in a VRA challenge to the House of Alabama map. gingle and “his descendants have created significant disagreement and uncertainty as to the nature and contours of a vote-dilution claim,” the chief noted.
The court’s ruling in the Wisconsin case is a step in clearing that fog for the lower courts, who are increasingly being called upon to venture into this political jungle. But the judges will eventually have to deal with their bigger one gingle Mixed up.
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-redistricting-mop-up-wisconsin-gerrymander-tony-evers-supreme-court-11648075358 A Supreme Court that puts new restrictions on clean-up efforts