October 7, 2017

Sina-cism: Gerrymander case maps repulsive ground where courts should fear to tread

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The Supreme Court should stay out of the question of gerrymandering, Sinacola says.

Americans have lots to worry about. They’ll have a lot more if the Supreme Court decides the case of Gill v. Whitford justifies federal intervention in the drawing of political district lines within states.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Wisconsin Democrats are upset that Republicans redrew district lines so as to preserve their electoral edge in the state assembly. It’s easy to see why, if you examine this map.

Many of the state’s districts are contiguous and as block-like as can be expected, featuring no more than the usual bumps necessary to ensure that population counts are within mandated limits.

But look at the area around the capital, Madison, and you find districts that consist of tracts and islands. Some Wisconsin state districts alternately touch down and skip over areas, like a fickle tornado on the Great Plains.

Yet, as bad as some of these Wisconsin districts are, they are paragons of geographic virtue compared to some Congressional districts, including these three howlers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas — one held by a Republican, the other two by Democrats.

Turn back the clock to 2014, and there’s this national view, which shows that in much of the nation’s coal belt, gerrymandering has been raised to an art form.


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