Maryland Redistricting Case Comes Before Supreme Court - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Justices Struggle With Partisan Redistricting Again

Posted: Mar 28, 2018 8:10 AM Updated:
In this Tuesday, April 4, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington.  (Photo: AP) In this Tuesday, April 4, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington. (Photo: AP)

WASHINGTON (AP)- Dealing with an issue that could affect elections across the country, Supreme Court justices wrestled Wednesday with how far states may go to craft electoral districts that give the majority party a huge political advantage.

But even as they heard their second case on partisan redistricting in six months, the justices expressed uncertainty about the best way to deal with a problem that several said would get worse without the court's intervention.

The arguments the court heard Wednesday were over an appeal by Republican voters in Maryland who object to a congressional district that Democrats drew to elect a candidate of their own.

The Maryland case is a companion to one from Wisconsin in which Democrats complain about a Republican-drawn map of legislative districts. That case was argued in October and remains undecided.

Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that the court could add in yet a third case involving North Carolina's congressional districts and set another round of arguments to deal with all three states.

Breyer said that "we'd have right in front of us the possibilities as thought through by lawyers and others who have an interest in this subject."

His comment is an indication that the justices haven't figured out the Wisconsin case in the nearly six months since it was argued.

More importantly, it suggests that Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote almost certainly controls the outcome, has reservations about using the Wisconsin case for the court's first-ever ruling that districting plans that entrench one party's control of the legislature or congressional delegation can violate the constitutional rights of the other party's voters.

The Maryland lawsuit offers the court a more limited approach to dealing with the issue because it involves just one district that flipped from Republican to Democratic control after the 2011 round of redistricting.

The justices have several issues before them:

- Should courts even be involved in the political task of redistricting?

- Is there a workable way to measure how much politics is too much?

-Do the particular plans being challenged cross that line?

There was broad agreement that the Republican voters who sued presented what Justice Sonia Sotomayor called "pretty damning" evidence that the Democrats who controlled the state government wanted to increase the Democrats' edge in the congressional from 6-2 to 7-1.

Even Chief Justice John Roberts, who has questioned lawsuits over partisan redistricting, said the redrawing of the 6th congressional district seemed to lack "any internal logic," other than to elect a Democrat.

Residents of the wealthy Washington, D.C., suburb of Potomac, Maryland, were lumped in with people who live in the rural northwestern corner of the state, Roberts said. "They both have farms. But the former, hobby farms. And the others are real farms."

But Roberts was among several justices, including liberal justices who seemed inclined to side with the challengers, who raised a procedural problem that could keep the court from deciding the merits of the case.

The Wisconsin case also has a potential problem that could prevent a decision about partisan redistricting.

That's where Breyer's suggestion could come in. He said even a decision striking down the Maryland map, which he said seems to be an extreme gerrymander, would not necessarily apply to other cases and would leave unaddressed what he called a serious, national problem.

If the court doesn't confront the big issues now, Breyer said, sophisticated map-makers using increasingly powerful technology will create more effective partisan maps after the 2020 census.

Putting all the challenged plans together would allow for a comprehensive ruling, he said.

Over the past 16 months, courts struck down political districting plans drawn by Republicans in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Federal judges threw out a state legislative map in Wisconsin and a congressional plan in North Carolina. In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court invalidated the state's congressional districts and replaced them with a court-drawn plan.

The Supreme Court has put the drawing of new maps on hold in North Carolina and Wisconsin, but refused to block the Pennsylvania court's adoption of revised congressional districts for this year's elections.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Hogan Endorsed by 2 Local Unions

    Hogan Endorsed by 2 Local Unions

    Thursday, September 20 2018 8:06 AM EDT2018-09-20 12:06:54 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 8:06 AM EDT2018-09-20 12:06:54 GMT
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Photo credit: Larry Hogan Facebook page)Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Photo credit: Larry Hogan Facebook page)
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Photo credit: Larry Hogan Facebook page)Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Photo credit: Larry Hogan Facebook page)
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is showcasing a pair of endorsements from two local labor unions.More
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is showcasing a pair of endorsements from two local labor unions.           More
  • Delaware GOP Official Quits, Blasts Party's Senate Nominee

    Delaware GOP Official Quits, Blasts Party's Senate Nominee

    Sep 19, 2018 3:39 PM -04:002018-09-19 19:39:00 GMT
    Wednesday, September 19 2018 3:39 PM EDT2018-09-19 19:39:22 GMT
    The Republican Party chairman in Delaware's most populous county has resigned his post, saying he cannot support the party's U.S. Senate candidate.More
    The Republican Party chairman in Delaware's most populous county has resigned his post, saying he cannot support the party's U.S. Senate candidate.           More
  • Democrat Ben Jealous Struggles in Blue Maryland

    Democrat Ben Jealous Struggles in Blue Maryland

    Sep 19, 2018 3:16 PM -04:002018-09-19 19:16:00 GMT
    Wednesday, September 19 2018 3:21 PM EDT2018-09-19 19:21:15 GMT
    From left: Ben Jealous and Gov. Larry HoganFrom left: Ben Jealous and Gov. Larry Hogan
    From left: Ben Jealous and Gov. Larry HoganFrom left: Ben Jealous and Gov. Larry Hogan
    A Goucher College poll released Wednesday shows incumbent Maryland gubernatorial candidate Gov. Larry Hogan leading his Democratic opponent Ben Jealous by 22 percentage points.More
    A Goucher College poll released Wednesday shows incumbent Maryland gubernatorial candidate Gov. Larry Hogan leading his Democratic opponent Ben Jealous by 22 percentage points. More
  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Officials: 3 Killed in Shooting at Maryland Rite Aid Center

    'Multiple Victims' Reported in Maryland Shooting

    Thursday, September 20 2018 10:40 AM EDT2018-09-20 14:40:27 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 1:21 PM EDT2018-09-20 17:21:42 GMT
    Police tape outside a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland, which was the scene of a Thursday morning shooting that left several people dead. (Photo: CNN Newsource)Police tape outside a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland, which was the scene of a Thursday morning shooting that left several people dead. (Photo: CNN Newsource)
    Police tape outside a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland, which was the scene of a Thursday morning shooting that left several people dead. (Photo: CNN Newsource)Police tape outside a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland, which was the scene of a Thursday morning shooting that left several people dead. (Photo: CNN Newsource)
    Three people were killed Thursday morning in a shooting at a Rite Aid distribution center in northeast Maryland, officials said.More
    Three people were killed Thursday morning in a shooting at a Rite Aid distribution center in northeast Maryland, officials said.           More
  • Sunfest Kicks Off in Ocean City

    Sunfest Kicks Off in Ocean City

    Thursday, September 20 2018 10:18 AM EDT2018-09-20 14:18:41 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 10:43 AM EDT2018-09-20 14:43:01 GMT
    (Photo: WBOC)(Photo: WBOC)
    (Photo: WBOC)(Photo: WBOC)
    The 44th Annual Sunfest kicked off in Ocean City, Maryland, on Thursday morning. This year's four-day event will feature nearly 300 vendors and more than 180 artists.More
    The 44th Annual Sunfest kicked off in Ocean City, Maryland, on Thursday morning. This year's four-day event will feature nearly 300 vendors and more than 180 artists. More
  • Perdue Activates Carolinas Disaster Relief Effort

    Perdue Activates Carolinas Disaster Relief Effort

    Thursday, September 20 2018 10:10 AM EDT2018-09-20 14:10:07 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 10:20 AM EDT2018-09-20 14:20:53 GMT
    Perdue Farms is sending truckloads of food and the Perdue Chicken Food Truck to the Carolinas in response to historic flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.More
    Perdue Farms is sending truckloads of food and the Perdue Chicken Food Truck to the Carolinas in response to historic flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • DSP: Two Sussex County Men Facing Assault Charges

    DSP: Two Sussex County Men Facing Assault Charges

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 9:24 PM EDT2018-09-20 01:24:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 7:29 AM EDT2018-09-20 11:29:26 GMT
    (L) Michael R. Milligan (R) Raymond M. Hitchens(L) Michael R. Milligan (R) Raymond M. Hitchens
    (L) Michael R. Milligan (R) Raymond M. Hitchens(L) Michael R. Milligan (R) Raymond M. Hitchens
    Delaware State Police said two Georgetown men were arrested on assault charges after they tried to repossess someone's car and sprayed him with mace.More
    Delaware State Police said two Georgetown men were arrested on assault charges after they tried to repossess someone's car and sprayed him with mace. More
  • Tangier Island Grabs International Attention

    Tangier Island Grabs International Attention

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 5:41 PM EDT2018-09-19 21:41:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 7:33 AM EDT2018-09-20 11:33:51 GMT
    Aerial view of Tangier Island from Chopper 16.Aerial view of Tangier Island from Chopper 16.
    Aerial view of Tangier Island from Chopper 16.Aerial view of Tangier Island from Chopper 16.
    A small Accomack County island is in the global spotlight, thanks to erosion concerns and a phone call from the president. Tangier Island has seen an influx of visitors from South America, Europe, Russia and beyond.More
    A small Accomack County island is in the global spotlight, thanks to erosion concerns and a phone call from the president. Tangier Island has seen an influx of visitors from South America, Europe, Russia and beyond. More
  • Buoy Washes Ashore at Kent County Beach

    Buoy Washes Ashore at Kent County Beach

    Wednesday, September 19 2018 8:00 PM EDT2018-09-20 00:00:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 20 2018 7:46 AM EDT2018-09-20 11:46:48 GMT
    Like many recent visitors to Woodland Beach, Delaware, Christy Raughley was surprised to find a big green buoy sitting on the coast of the small Kent County community.More
    Like many recent visitors to Woodland Beach, Delaware, Christy Raughley was surprised to find a big green buoy sitting on the coast of the small Kent County community. More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Tangier Island Grabs International Attention

    Tangier Island Grabs International Attention

    A small Accomack County island is in the global spotlight, thanks to erosion concerns and a phone call from the President.

    Tangier Island has seen an influx of visitors from South America, Europe, Russia and beyond. Peaking the interest of film crews, journalists, and writers from around the world. In the past year, the mayor of Tangier Island, Ooker Eskridge, said crews from 22 different countries have paid his town a visit.

    More

    A small Accomack County island is in the global spotlight, thanks to erosion concerns and a phone call from the president. Tangier Island has seen an influx of visitors from South America, Europe, Russia and beyond. 

    More
  • Buoy Washes Ashore at Kent County Beach

    Buoy Washes Ashore at Kent County Beach

    Recent visitors to Woodland Beach were surprised to find a big green buoy sitting on the coast of the small Kent County community.

    The buoy started cropping up in photos posted to social media last week, shortly after the remnants of Hurricane Gordon caused big high tides that may have dragged the naval guide to the beach.

    More

    Recent visitors to Woodland Beach were surprised to find a big green buoy sitting on the coast of the small Kent County community.

    The buoy started cropping up in photos posted to social media last week, shortly after the remnants of Hurricane Gordon caused big high tides that may have dragged the naval guide to the beach.

    More
  • Family of Caroline County Teenager Tased By Police Speaks

    Family of Caroline County Teenager Tased By Police Speaks

    The family of Antone Black, the 19 year-old Caroline County man who died while in police custody, is now speaking through their lawyer.

    More

    The family of Antone Black, the 19 year-old Caroline County man who died while in police custody, is now speaking through their lawyer.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices