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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - Recent SCOTUS opinions on reapportionment

Richard Wolf of USA TODAY reports in a story that begins:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that states can draw legislative districts with different populations in an effort to benefit minority groups, even if the results help one political party over the other.

The decision signaled a recognition by the court that despite its disdain for both racial and partisan considerations, neither violates the Constitution's "one person, one vote" principle.

It also represented the justices' third consecutive ruling on political redistricting that has pleased Democrats more than Republicans following a landmark 2013 decision that went the other way -- Chief Justice John Roberts' 5-4 ruling that struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act.

The court upheld state legislative lines drawn by an independent commission created in Arizona to take the job away from the legislators themselves. Just last June, the justices upheld the commission's creation by a 5-4 vote over the objections of Republican lawmakers who said the Constitution gives that task to state legislatures. * * *

As for politics, the high court has never established a standard for how much partisanship is too much when it comes to drawing district lines. During oral argument, several justices said even the commission's population variances didn't make any partisan considerations unconstitutional.

"Where is the district in which, ­­or the state in which, partisanship does not play a role in redistricting?" Roberts said then.

The ruling will have minimal impact on states, most of which look at political affiliation -- and, in many cases, race and ethnicity -- in placing voters in districts. If the justices had ruled that race or politics could not justify population differences, it would have thrown other states' maps into question as well.

Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog has this "Opinion Analysis" of today's "narrow, but unanimous, ruling on Arizona redistricting."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 20, 2016 02:30 PM
Posted to Indiana Government