The Supreme Court in June allowed to stand the independent redistricting commission that the voters in Arizona established, to take rabid partisanship out of the drawing of state and federal districts. But Republicans who control the legislature say the Constitution gives them the right to draw congressional districts, and they cannot be cut out of the power. California is the only other state that has diminished the legislature’s role similar to Arizona, but 11 other states have created commissions that have some sort of say about reapportionment. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/justices-rule-5-4-that-independent-panels-can-draw-election-district-lines/2015/06/29/c91269aa-1ae6-11e5-ab92-c75ae6ab94b5_story.html
I have long railed against gerrymandering, which is only the most blatant of a dozen ways that modern political parties have found to cheat the voters. Nothing more spectacularly proved the stunning dogmatic partisanship of justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito more than they way they have blocked (till now) any serious judicial review of these hijackings of sovereign citizen will.
The cheating is not balanced and equally distributed. While yes, there a blue states where gerrymandering creates contorted, illogical and nasty district boundaries – Maryland and Illinois rise almost to the level of creativity of Texas and Georgia – it should be noted that it is in blue states that mostly democratic-leaning populations have rebelled against the practice. Of the 13 states where voters have pushed back against gerrymandering, twelve are blue.
“The Supreme Court has largely stayed out of partisan gerrymandering cases, unable to agree on a test that would allow the court to discern when expected political maneuvering rises to the level of being unconstitutional.”
But it does not have to get embroiled! Nor is there even a need for impartial redistricting commissions! All that is needed is one simple rule, that can be expressed in a single sentence. This one rule would not completely end gerrymandering… but it would render it moot and useless as a rampant method for stealing sovereignty and choice from American voters. http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-simple-trick-allowing-citizens-to.html
THE RULE: District boundaries shall be drawn in such a way that (1) minimizes the ratio of perimeter to area and (2) minimizes OVERLAP between the districts for the state assembly, the state senate and the U.S. Congress.
What this means is that the state legislature can Gerry assembly districts to benefit the majority party… but all this will do is ensure that the boundaries for state senate and Congress are not optimized for partisanship. Your state senator will have to consider different sets of neighborhoods and needs and alliances than the assemblywoman, making democracy more thoughtful and prone to negotiation.
Above all, this reform does not require a grinding process of establishing one “commission” after another, or “agreeing on a test that would allow the court to discern when expected political maneuvering rises to the level of being unconstitutional.”
Above all, though. NOTICE which party cheats far more than the other. Ask yourselves why it’s been arranged that all the companies that make VOTING machines are controlled by rabid GOP partisans. And why is it that – in red states – there usually is no provision for those voting machines to leave an independent record that can be precinct-audited. Sure, there are corrupt democrats. But they have not turned cheating into a passionately-dedicated matter of party principle, policy and disciplined practice.