illegal gerrymandering

Gerrymandering needs to end

Our 2020 census numbers are just about in. Time to re-draw the voting maps for the next decade will we still be laboring under the hand of legislators who draw the maps to pick their voters or will we stand up this time and get our voices heard.

We need an independent commission to draw fair districts. Partisan efforts on both sides of the aisle have failed and been struck down by courts for racial and partisan reasons costing the taxpayers each time. Enough gerrymandering.

Ohio Gerrymandering ruling could tip the scales

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Forcing the Supremes to do the right thing:

A federal court on Friday tossed out Ohio’s congressional map, ruling that Republican state lawmakers had carved up the state to give themselves an illegal partisan advantage and to dilute Democrats’ votes in a way that predetermined the outcome of elections.

The ruling follows decisions by four other federal courts striking down partisan gerrymanders in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Maryland and, last week, in Michigan. All but Maryland were gerrymandered by Republicans. The Supreme Court, which last year sidestepped the issue of whether partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution, is expected to rule this spring in appeals from Maryland and North Carolina.

The 3-judge panel has directed the Ohio Legislature to have new maps ready by June, so no doubt the Supreme Court will be asked to issue a stay sometime very soon. And that unfinished business with a clock ticking will be on their minds while looking at Maryland and North Carolina. Tell me if this doesn't sound eerily familiar:

Why Barbara Jackson is not fit to serve on NC's Supreme Court

Her complete obeisance to Republicans in the General Assembly is distressing:

The General Assembly can waive its common law rights in addition to its statutory rights, and whether it chooses to do so is not within the purview of this Court. Nevertheless, we will not lightly assume such a waiver by a coordinate branch of government. Therefore, without a clear and unambiguous statement by the General Assembly that it intends to waive its attorney-client privilege or work-product doctrine, we are compelled to exercise judicial restraint and defer to the General Assembly‟s judgment regarding the scope of its legislative confidentiality.

In a nutshell, Justice Jackson blocked the plaintiff's discovery of e-mails associated with the GOP's gerrymandering plot after they took over the General Assembly in 2011. And she did this because she knew that during the back-and-forth between lawmakers and mapmakers and consultants, the true nature of their racial gerrymandering would be revealed. It was not about "complying" with the VRA, it was about abusing those Federal guidelines in order to pack African Americans into districts and greatly reduce the value and impact of their votes. In the absence of such damning proof, Republicans were free to keep their little charade afloat. Read the whole decision and you will see Jackson dug up the worst collection of Precedent I've seen in a while to back up her argument. Irrelevant and inappropriate don't even cover it. But at least read Robin Hudson's dissent, because it demonstrates why the GOP worked so hard to steal her seat:

GOP lawyers will appeal Special Master maps to U.S. Supreme Court

Which comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody:

The GOP lawmakers’ lawyers filed Sunday a motion asking the federal judges stay their order accepting new boundary lines from a special master while legislators appeal that order to the U.S. Supreme Court. They want a decision by Monday because they plan to request a similar delay before the Supreme Court if the judges deny it.

The judges ruled Friday that lines the General Assembly approved last summer still contained unconstitutional boundaries. The GOP lawyers say altering districts would create confusion weeks before candidate filing, adding judges used a “fundamentally flawed” test to determine whether illegal racial gerrymandering remained.

Bolding mine, because this is the height of arrogance. Republicans are basically saying, "Please delay your ruling, because you're all idiots." Like all bullies, they just can't keep from insulting people they're dealing with. It becomes second nature, and like Donald Trump, it is spawned out of a massive ego and overly-inflated sense of self-worth. The only cure for that is a Blue Wave.

Court rejects NC Republicans' request for "Stay" on gerrymandering order

Because doing what's right is never a burden:

Judges James A. Wynn, William L. Osteen and W. Earl Britt of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that the lawmakers had failed to meet the “heavy burden” required to stay the order.

They found that the lawmakers' "motion does not dispute this court’s unanimous conclusions that” the map had resulted in partisan gerrymandering, and ordering that it be redrawn. The judges also found that staying the ruling would not injure the lawmakers, but “would substantially injure — indeed irreparably harm — Plaintiffs.”

In any sane world, Republicans would be seriously re-evaluating their affinity and reliance on bent redistricting to buttress their power. But instead, they're gearing up to bring their funky map-making skills to the Judicial Branch. They honestly have no shame.

Breaking: Court rules NC Congressional maps be redrawn by the end of January

Federal court declares two NC Congressional Districts racially gerrymandered

And they've got two weeks to fix it:

After careful consideration of all evidence presented during a three-day bench trial, the parties’ findings of fact and conclusions of law, the parties’ arguments, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the plaintiffs have shown that race predominated in both CD 1 and CD 12 and that the defendants have failed to establish that its race-based redistricting satisfies strict scrutiny.

Accordingly, the Court holds that the general assembly’s 2011 Congressional Redistricting Plan is unconstitutional as violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Having found that the 2011 Congressional Redistricting Plan violates the Equal Protection Clause, the Court will require that new congressional districts be drawn forthwith to remedy the unconstitutional districts. See Wise v. Lipscomb, 437 U.S.
535, 539-40 (1978).

Read it and weep, you anti-democratic right-wing losers.

Florida's Republican gerrymandering rejected by judge

And several members of its current delegation will soon be coming home:

A judge called Friday for a sweeping overhaul of Florida's electoral map, including the congressional district held by a Republican seeking to become the next U.S. House speaker.

Florida voters sought to end this by approving a 2010 referendum amending the state Constitution to apply "Fair Districts" standards, which mandate that legislators cannot draw districts intended to help incumbents or a member of a political party. Then, in a stinging ruling in July, the Florida Supreme Court said Republican operatives had "tainted" previous mapping efforts, and ordered eight districts redrawn. The House and Senate gathered in a rare August special session, but deadlocked over a new map drawn up by legislative staff.

Not sure how applicable this ruling will be in NC court cases, since a similar "Fair Districts" referendum has not been (and likely would never be) passed here. Then again, I also can't imagine the (US) Supreme Court looking favorably upon radically different methods amongst states for the selection of Congressional Representatives. But like any radical shift, there will be collateral damage:

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