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Thread: Delimitation: Gerrymandering in the US

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Delimitation: Gerrymandering in the US

    At least the Courts are fair!

    ‘Racial gerrymandering’: Court orders 2 N. Carolina congressional district maps to be redrawn

    Published time: 7 Feb, 2016 00:28Edited time: 7 Feb, 2016 00:36

    North Carolina's congressional districts maps

    A US appeals court has ruled that two districts in North Carolina will have to be redrawn as they were racially gerrymandered in 2011. The move sparked uncertainty about whether March primaries would take place as planned.

    Although the state’s congressional primaries are scheduled for March 15, no votes can be cast in the 1st and 12th districts, both of which are majority black, until new maps have been redrawn and approved.

    THIS IS HUGE: A federal court just ruled that North Carolina's 1st and 12th congressional districts are unconstitutional racial gerrymanders
    — SCSJ (@scsj) February 5, 2016
    Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Roger Gregory described the redrawing of the two districts by the Republican-led legislature in 2011 as “unconstitutional” on Friday and they must be redrawn by February 19.

    “The record is replete with statements indicating that race was the legislature’s paramount concern,” and that“individuals… whose constitutional rights have been injured by improper racial gerrymandering have suffered significant harm,” the ruling states.

    READ MORE: Alabama’s legislative districts are ‘racially gerrymandered,' Supreme Court rules

    Senator Bob Rucho and Representative David Lewis, chairmen of the General Assembly redistricting committees, told The News & Observer that the findings were disruptive and they will be appealing the decision.

    “Should this decision be allowed to stand, North Carolina voters will no longer know how or when they will get to cast their primary ballots in the presidential, gubernatorial, congressional and legislative elections,” the said in a joint statement.

    “This decision could do far more to disenfranchise North Carolina voters than anything alleged in this case,” the statement reads.

    North Carolina's 1st and 12th congressional districts are LOL worthy in their design.
    — John Slone (@johndslone) February 6, 2016
    Both districts are currently represented by Democrats - G.K. Butterfield in the 1st and Alma Adams in the 12th - and have been the subject of a lawsuit lodged to invalidate the redrawn boundary lines for over two years.

    READ MORE: Supreme Court strikes blow to Arizona GOP’s gerrymandering dreams

    Rev. William Barber, president of North Carolina’s NAACP chapter, described the ruling as a “vindication” of these legal challenges and the “racially biased ‘apartheid’ voting districts” drawn up to “disenfranchise the power of the African-American vote.”

    The 1st district, which is mostly in the northeastern part of the state, runs to 1,319 miles along its perimeter, taking in five whole counties but touching on 19 others and is described as being "akin to a Rorschach inkblot."

    The 12th district runs 120 miles in length and is 20 miles across at its widest but averages "only only a few miles wide" along most of it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Prison-based gerrymandering unconstitutional, federal judge rules

    Published time: 22 Mar, 2016 01:01

    © Department of the Interior / Wikipedia

    A federal judge ruled on Monday that Florida’s practice of using prison populations to manipulate voting districts is unconstitutional, perhaps foreshadowing Virginia’s Supreme Court case questioning the constitutionality of its congressional districts.

    The Third District of Florida’s Jefferson County has an interesting population. Out of the entire voting age population, 43.2 percent cannot legally vote in County Commission and School Board elections, according to The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

    The district map for Jefferson County’s Third District was drawn to include the Jefferson Correctional Institute with its 1,157 inmates, who make up more than a third of the district’s population, the Palm Beach Post reports.

    Gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing legislative district lines to gain political advantages, has become an issue of contention in both Florida and Virginia. For Florida’s Jefferson County, including the inmate population in the Third District resulted in giving eligible voters almost twice the voting power.
    Supreme Court strikes blow to Arizona GOP’s gerrymandering dreams
    — RT America (@RT_America) June 30, 2015
    Because of the additional 1,157 non-voting inmates included in the Third District’s population, the amount of power that other districts – and local populations – have in local politics is diluted. The ACLU’s attorney, Nancy Abudu, told ThinkProgress, “It’s about access and the ability to influence, and making sure officials are responsive to their electorate.

    However, a federal judge in Florida’s Northern District has ruled that prison-based gerrymandering is a violation of the “one person, one vote” principle under the Equal Protection Clause of Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. The County has until April 4 to redraw congressional district lines before the June qualifying election for commissioners and school board members. If it fails to do so, the court will impose its own interim plan.

    Although this is the first federal ruling on gerrymandering, it won’t be the last. Virginia Republicans are taking their case to the Supreme Court this week to refute accusations of racial gerrymandering.

    According to the US Census, African-Americans made up 19.7 percent of Virginia’s population in 2014. Yet, there is just a single African-American congressman from the Commonwealth out of 11 representatives – Representative Robert C. Scott (D). The Supreme Court will consider whether Virginia’s Republican lawmakers packed African-American voters into Scott’s district to protect him in order to comply with the Voting Rights Act or, rather, to keep the surrounding districts more friendly towards whites, the Washington Post reports.

    Read more
    ‘Racial gerrymandering’: Court orders 2 N. Carolina congressional district maps to be redrawn
    In Virginia, state legislators redraw district lines for the US Congress, the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia after every 10-year census,explains OneVirginia2021, a group dedicated to fair redistricting. “Under the current system, the party in power in the House and the party in power in the Senate can draw the lines to serve their own interests, not those of our communities.

    Many Virginians agree. The Washington Post found that, in 2013, 74 percent of state residents thought an independent board – not the state legislature – should be responsible for drawing the various legislative and congressional districts.

    The state’s Republicans have a different opinion, however, instead, comparing the determination of congressional district lines to Goldilocks figuring out which porridge to eat, as former Virginia delegate Bill Janis (R-Glen Allen), who devised the commonwealth’s congressional map, explained to the Washington Post.

    You can’t let the porridge be too hot, you can’t let the porridge be too cold,” Janis said. “But they won’t tell us what temperature the porridge has to be.

    The Supreme Court’s decision could mean big changes for the Commonwealth of Virginia. With over 75 percent of the redistricting plans being challenged in court, high stakes are at play.
    Alabama’s legislative districts are ‘racially gerrymandered,' Supreme Court rules
    — RT (@RT_com) March 26, 2015

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