Thursday, August 1, 2019

How To Jury Rig A Gerrymander

With the Supreme Court killing any court role in stopping gerrymandering, states are turning to redistricting commissions in order to draw less partisan maps. Of course, Michigan Republicans are doing everything they can to kill the state's new redistricting commission, and former GOP Scott Walker is leading the charge.

Republicans are suing to stop Michigan’s new citizen redistricting commission before it begins, alleging the voter-approved amendment is “blatantly unconstitutional” and discriminates against participants based on political service or family ties.

A high-stakes federal lawsuit filed Tuesday morning with the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids seeks to invalidate Proposal 2, block implementation and prevent the independent commission from drawing new legislative and congressional district maps for the 2022 election cycle.

Instead, whichever political party wins control of the state Legislature next year would lead that process in 2021 but need approval from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Republicans drew existing lines in 2011 and currently hold majorities in the Michigan House and Senate.

The legal action is backed by the Fair Lines America Foundation, a nonprofit with ties to the National Republican Redistricting Trust. The suit was filed on behalf of 15 Michigan residents who would be excluded from serving on the commission under the new rules.

“Any reform, no matter how poorly conceived, must achieve its goals without infringing on the basic rights guaranteed to all of us by the Constitution,” said Scott Walker, the former Wisconsin governor who is now finance chair for the GOP redistricting group, in a statement.

“Michigan’s new redistricting commission falls short of that standard by punishing the people of Michigan for exercising those rights — or for being related to someone who has.”

The amendment to the Michigan Constitution prohibits service on the commission by anyone who in the last six years was a partisan candidate, elected official, political appointee, lobbyist, campaign consultant and officer or member of the governing body of a political party.

It also excludes a parent, child or spouse of any of those individuals

It's a stupid lawsuit, under that logic, every single Michigander who's not selected for the commission has a right to sue the state.  But let's not forget what Michigan Republicans managed to accomplish: the most gerrymandered state in the nation.

A Nov. 7 Metro Times tally of unofficial Michigan Secretary of State and Wayne County Clerk's Office vote totals found State House Dem candidates received a total of 2,092,164 votes in the 2018 midterm. Republicans received 1,917,150 votes — an advantage of about 175,000 for Democratic candidates.

Still, Republicans will hold a 58-52 majority in the State House during the next term.

In the State Senate, our preliminary count found Democrats received 2,062,494 votes while Republicans received 1,945,209 — an advantage of about 117,300 for Dems. Still, the GOP will hold a 22-16 majority next term. 
Democrats got 52% of state House votes but won only 47% of seats.  In the state Senate, Democrats got 51% of votes but only 42% of seats.

And Republicans will sue all the way to the Supreme Court in order to keep a permanent redistricting majority they can manipulate decade after decade.

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