Gerry Mandering- Whitford Gill

Gill v Whitford- a Case study in the paralyzed legal system of the United State

The Supreme Court- in a unanimous decision, to hit snooze on what they acknowledge is a dire threat to American Republic, growing progressively worse.

Partisan gerry mandering is “incompatible with democratic principles.” Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Comm’n, 576 U. S. ___, ___ (2015) (slip op., at 1) (quoting Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U. S. 267, 292 (2004) (plurality opinion); alterations omitted). More effectively every day,that practice enables politicians to entrench themselves inpower against the people’s will. And only the courts can do anything to remedy the problem, because gerrymanders benefit those who control the political branches.

 

41 pages to explain why they are not sure that the Wisconsin residents were the right people to address the issues

 

In a surprisingly even handed manner- rather than a dismissal- they remanded the case- sent it to the local, federal district court to adjust the case- and they seemed to genuinely want to hear more. The facts of the case seem to necessitate further and quick action , and I frankly fail to see how there would be much debate on the issue, even from the just the next two paragraphs, long before we get to laws which govern this.

 

Symposium: Bringing Whitford into focus

“In 2010, Wisconsin Republicans won fortuitous majorities in the fall elections. They then used that control to create a map for state assembly elections that would guarantee them large legislative majorities even with a minority of the statewide vote, and, crucially, deny their Democratic opponents the same opportunity. They did this intentionally. And they succeeded. Consultants and legislative aides – supervised by the leaders of the state’s Republican caucus – worked away in an off-site “map room” to engineer maps with the aid of sophisticated social-science techniques. Legislative Democrats were entirely excluded from the mapping process. Even rank-and-file Republicans were largely left in the dark, shown only information relating to their specific districts and only after signing nondisclosure agreements. The maps were then rapidly pushed through both houses of the legislature and signed into law by the state’s Republican governor.”

(Whitford opinions)

In 2012, Republicans won 60 Assembly seats with 48.6% of the two-party statewide vote for Assembly candidates. In 2014, Republicans won 63 Assembly seats with 52% of the statewide vote.

218 F. Supp. 3d 837, 853 (WD Wis. 2016).  *

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is an election

The popular answer, one which it is likely neither judge nor politician will dispute is a “test of the people’s will” which is done by tallying the people’s votes for representatives

The map is the way of representing the will of large groups of people, with the idea of maintaining local areas of interest, and giving them a representative voice .

 

This process is governed, primarily by the 14th Amendment-though unfortunately requiring several additional ones-  to get every person the right to vote. No person shall be deprived of equal protection under the laws– and we generally take equal protection to mean equal privileges of. Also, Baker v Carr, Wesberry v Sanders established a ‘one person, one vote’ principle- which means that the number of people in each district should be approximately equivalent. So if it is impermissible to create districts so certain people have more power and influence

 

 

  1. Is there a valid case- does the system for electing representatives accurately(accurate- hits the bulls eye) and precisely( precise- hits the same place on the dartboard, over and over, regardless of where) reflect the will of the people?

 

Together with the fact that Wisconsin has 99 seats in the Assembly you have all the facts necessary to determine the adequacy or lack there of Wisconsin’s districting system.

 

In 2012, Republicans won 60 Assembly seats with 48.6% of the two-party statewide vote for Assembly candidates. In 2014, Republicans won 63 Assembly seats with 52% of the statewide vote.

218 F. Supp. 3d 837, 853 (WD Wis. 2016).  *

 

Republicans won 61% of State Assembly voting power with 49% of the two party vote in 2012, and 64% with 52% of the vote in 2014.

 

They won a strong majority, while being slightly in the minority- effectively pushing out of power a group with more votes. It may seem like this can vary year to year, or depending on issue, national sentiment, third parties but these things affect the numbers of votes collected- those have already been taken in to consideration, and there is this huge distortion.

 

A couple of seats here or there difference because of blow outs- 48% of the vote producing 52% of the seats- may be possible. But a 12% swing, in consecutive elections is statistically impossible without  map distortion.

 

In a two party system elections are a zero sum game, making this very simple- presumably, a strong showing by a third party hewing to either  in multiple districts would change the over all picture. In this case however- the brilliance in using only the two party vote tally in this comparison, is it doesn’t matter.

 

 

 

  1. What gerrymandering actually is.

 

Gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries- Wikipedia

 

In regards to state legislatures, state officials adjust the commons-  take an official act- changing the shape of the state government itself- for the good of themselves, and the good of their external association on taxpayer time and dime.

 

If you are familiar with Baker V Carr, Reynolds, etc, what those cases were was really saying it is impermissible to rig the system to give certain people more say in the state legislatures than others.

 

18 USC 201

(B)

being a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such official or person; shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.

 

Is job security, at a set monetary value, something of value? Is the ability to craft legislation, that directly affects business regulated by the legislation, have value? But this is federal charges.

 

From the Wisconsin statutes.

230.40 Political activities; public office.

 No person holding any position in the classified civil service may during the hours when on duty engage in any form of political activity calculated to favor or improve the chances of any political party or any person seeking or attempting to hold partisan political office, nor engage in any political activity when not on duty to such an extent that the person’s efficiency during working hours will be impaired or that he or she will be tardy or absent from work. Any violation of this section is adequate grounds for dismissal.

While I have not researched whether or not the same standards apply to the elected officials themselves, I’d be willing to bet every dollar I don’t have- quite a tidy sum,  that it applies to any contractor hired by the state government. Nor is accepting outside paid for maps a possibility- this  would directly be bribery. So unless these state legislators literally drew the maps themselves.. there is no way they could draw partisan maps legally- and even that is a stretch.

 

  1. Can these people bring the case forward- standus locii or standing
    1. General objection to court policy on this.

It is the practice of the US Courts, to, particularly when they don’t want to be bothered or the question is difficult, to say that the person has no Article III standing to sue. It is a strict Constitutionally mandated duty which must be adhered to above anything else, and requires that the Courts only act to help people who can show that they have been personally harmed in a significant way that doesn’t affect anyone else. Of course, you may have a difficult time finding it, since it is not mentioned in Article III nor in any legal document anywhere from 1776-1918ish when Justice Brandeis and company decided that it was a clear Constitutional duty.

 

Aquaman certainly doesn’t have any business in court contesting BLM (Bureau of Land Management)Oklahoma cattle grazing regulations, (unless he owns shares in the cattle companies) and those sorts of clear hey you have no dog in this fight should be thrown out. *But  it seems highly unlikely that the founders intended that large swaths of the Constitution would be unusable- and very clear, and very likely violations of said Constitution would continue until the political branches had a change of heart or the right person saying the exact right thing stepped forward. That a government’s adherence to it’s written contracts with it’s

people, is We the people’s business, in country ostensibly of the people for the people and by the people is something that should but apparently does not go without saying.

    1. Restriction to their district for standing-

That gerry mandering only affects the people in the specific district fails to take into account the actual purpose of voting. The right to vote is not the right to go in a booth, nor to choose a person who gets paid to go back and forth from the capital of their state. The purpose is to take part in selecting a representative who the voter  believes will best advance and represent that voters’s interest,( and hopefully the community at large) making real and concrete an agenda the voter supports. The ability to have a non voting, or voting with a substantial minority party in a binary system in practice, nearly the same thing as, nothing whatsoever. Ask Puerto Ricans- Ame Ricans in numbers that in the mid west or New England would get them 6 Senators,  and 5ish Reps without a voting rep in Congress.

Nor is the ability to elect an honest man to have equal say and vote, with 7 members of the same corporation who are unconvicted felons, whose credentials are faked. (Not that this is necessarily the case nor necessarily not the case, here- it is to say that )

 

 

You are always voting for representation in a system; one in this case that only has effect as a whole. Your vote for mayor of your city will not give you standing to sue for malfeasance in the elections of a different city.

 

But if you are voting for members of a board that depends on state wide elections for the representatives who vote on laws that have state wide effect, The taxes collected, whether right turn on red is legal, and whether schools are funded properly are all decisions that are made

 

When I vote for representation, I am voting for a person who will represent my interests, and my values. This person is not going to “go it alone” since the branches are co-equal at all levels, in theory. When it is a person on the legislature, my vote goes to a person to represent me and my interests, and values. So my vote for a person in my district is partially for the person but mostly because they associate themselves with ideas and an idealogy I back- or at least most voters do this, most of the time.

 

In this context their interests and my interests are one and the same- which means that if they/we are elected, but have no coalition, because the other seats have all been gerrymandered,  there is effectively no vote.

 

The Court argues here, that a remedy would only be the fixing of their district, that only individuals denied representation  By this logic, the remedy for a government throwing away the votes of the opposite party would be to apply additional tally marks in the opposing column for the plaintiffs, and only the plaintiffs who stepped forward.

 

Any time you vote, you vote as part of an association, a paradigm, a mindset which best suits what you think you want at the time in government. As an individual, your right to vote, is in fact worthless. One vote can make a difference- ennh- rarely enough that it does not bear merit of additional text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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