Top court to hear case that could reshape US political map

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A federal court ruled past year that Secretary of State Jon Husted was following the law by throwing out ballots that had minor errors such as signing a name rather than printing it and leaving a digit out of a social security number.

At the heart of the legal challenge is whether the new Assembly boundaries that Republicans shaped create districts that are too partisan. Then they will have a response deadline of Friday, July 7.

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday reversed a decision [opinions, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, finding that the circuit court did not have authority to review the trial court's decision where the trial court had not violated defendant's due process rights during the penalty phase of his criminal trial. "A rule against partisan gerrymandering will have a major impact for communities of color, where partisanship unfortunately has often been used as an excuse for actions that hurt minorities", Li said in a statement.

Redistricting litigation is by no means a rarity, regardless of how far removed a case may be from the last decennial census or even if the boundaries are actually enforced at the time.

But Subodh Chandra, a Cleveland attorney for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, said he found it "profoundly disappointing and unfair" that Ohio and MI, two presidential election swing states within the 6th Circuit's jurisdiction, would have fewer tools than swing states in other court jurisdictions to fight voter suppression. That happened before in 2006-2007, he added.

"The courts have been very hesitant to get involved in policing how these partisan maps are drawn".

In a related ruling Monday, the high court handed Republicans a victory by blocking a lower court ruling that the state develop new maps by November 1. He says the redistricting process was "entirely lawful and constitutional". By redrawing districts to encompass several Democrat-leaning territories, Republicans effectively cost Democrats votes beyond the majority needed to elect a blue politician in that area.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will consider Wisconsin's redistricting lawsuit.

The way gerrymandering was carried out in states like Wisconsin was that Republican lawmakers would stuff Democratic voters into already Democratic districts and Democrats would do vice versa in their constituencies.

But Wisconsin officials defended the legislature's work and called on the justices to undo the lower-court ruling.

The court said both the First Amendment and the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection prohibit redistricting plans that make it harder for members of a disfavored political party to elect their candidates and that can not be justified on legitimate grounds.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is praising the Supreme Court's decision to put on hold an earlier ruling that new legislative maps be drawn.

"The grant of stay makes it considerably less likely the court will rein in partisan gerrymandering via WI case", he wrote on Twitter.

Similar lawsuits are pending in Maryland, where Democrats dominate, and North Carolina, where Republicans have a huge edge in the congressional delegation and the state legislature.

"Partisan gerrymandering of this kind is worse now than at any time in recent memory", said Paul Smith, who is representing the challengers to the GOP plan in Wisconsin. Said another way, Republicans control 77 percent of the seats, despite winning just 53 percent of the vote. The Brennan Center for Justice says the efficiency gap "counts the number of votes each party wastes in an election to determine whether either party enjoyed a systematic advantage in turning votes into seats".

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