Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Scalia licenses Republican gerrymandering 

Well, so much for legitimate government under Republican rule.

A Supreme Court plurality, in a Pennsylvania case that may change the political landscape of the United States, said Wednesday that the courts cannot rule on challenges to political gerrymandering.

The decision could affect similar disputes in Texas and elsewhere and is expected to benefit the Republican Party. It could also open the floodgates to politically gerrymandered redistricting wherever one party has firm control of a state legislature.

But a four-justice plurality led by Justice Antonin Scalia ruled that political gerrymandering claims are "non-justiciable" because no standards for judging such claims [of gerrymandering] exist.

"The use of purely political considerations in drawing district boundaries is not a 'necessary evil' that, for lack of judicially manageable standards, the Constitution must tolerate," Breyer said in his dissent. Breyer then proceeded to offer 15 pages illustrating what he said were possible standards.

State Legislatures Magazine reported after the 2002 elections that Republicans had firm control of 21 state legislatures and Democrats firmly controlled 16. Partisan control is divided in 11 legislatures; the remainder are effectively deadlocked.

Political gerrymandering is espoused by such national figures as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and it is expected to spread after Wednesday's ruling.
(via UPI)

Funny how willing Scalia was to make a ruling in Bush v Gore, where standards also did not exist, and how willing he is to make a ruling now. I wonder why?

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