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Author Topic:   Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression
Taq
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(1)
Message 31 of 38 (856517)
07-01-2019 1:25 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Chiroptera
06-29-2019 11:14 AM


Re: Ruch v Common Cause: The decision
Chiroptera writes:

The main argument seems to be that the Founders were well aware of the problem of gerrymandering but gave the task of creating districts to the political branches anyway.

Begrudgingly, I tend to agree with the SCOTUS decision. These are political powers given to the other branches and not to the courts. We could have a situation where each and every districting map is brought in front of the courts, and they don't want to be in the business of second guessing every single state legislature with an eye to political parties. I think the courts can step in when it is a question of race, religion, or other protected groups. However, political parties are not a protected group, as far as I can tell.

Having the courts involved in redistricting was never a long term solution. The American people need to stand up and fix this through legislation. A grassroots (or astroturf, who cares as long as it gets fixed) organization could work on some standardized language that could be put on state ballots across the country. If it is pushed as being non-partisan, it could be effective. A similar campaign has seen Obamacare Medicare expansion voted into law in the most conservative states.

However, Republicans know that demographics are against them, so they would use scare tactics to get these ballot measures shot down. Still, it is a hill worth dying on, IMHO.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Chiroptera, posted 06-29-2019 11:14 AM Chiroptera has acknowledged this reply

  
Chiroptera
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From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.8


(2)
Message 32 of 38 (856707)
07-02-2019 11:25 AM


Rucho v Common Cause: The dissent
Justice kagan wrote the dissent, to which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor joined.

And what a blistering dissent is; it's pretty clear the minority is angry at the outcome. (Sometimes I wonder what the private discussions on these cases are like.)

Kagan accuses the Court of avoiding its obligations.

And not just any constitutional violation. The partisan gerrymanders in these cases deprived citizens of the most fundamental of their constitutional rights: the rights to participate equally in the political process, to join with others to advance political beliefs, and to choose their political representatives. In so doing, the partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people.

Kagan starts by outlining the redistricting process used in the Maryland and North Carolina cases, noting they open admitted their goal to give one party or the other a partisan advantage. These cases weren't some obscure borderline cases; they were the obvious and blatant examples you begin with when you start developing remedies.

Kagan points out the majority themselves admit these cases are a gross violation of democratic norms and subvert the whole notion of democratic government.

In response to the argument about the Founders leaving redistricting to the political branches while being aware of gerrymandering, Kagan makes a point I made earlier:

After all (as the majority rightly notes), racial and residential gerrymanders were also once with us, but the Court has done something about that fact.

Kagan also makes a point that Taq made in an earlier post: Modern technology allows an incredible level of accuracy in terms of pinpointing demographic data that would have been unimaginable to the Founders, as well as providing the capability of generating and testing thousands of alternative maps to choose the most advantageous.

To answer the majorities claim that gerrymanders have made mistakes in the past and that voters are unpredictable, Kagan points out the in these cases, the results were exactly as predicted. Thanks, modern technology!

[In response to the majorities claim the demographic patterns change, I'll point out that modern technology allows gerrymanders to keep track of the most up-to-date demographic data and to redistrict before each election if necessary.]

Kagan then cites how the gerrymandering is a violation of voters' Fourteenth Amendment rights (voters are being deprived of their right to have an influence on government policy) as well as their First Amendmentment rights (since voters are being discriminated against based on past voting history and political preference).

Yet partisan gerrymanders subject certain voters to “disfavored treatment”—again, counting their votes for less—precisely because of “their voting history [and] their expression of political views.” Vieth, 541 U. S., at 314 (opinion of Kennedy, J.). And added to that strictly personal harm is an associational one. Representative democracy is “unimaginable without the ability of citizens to band together in [support of] candidates who espouse their political views.” California Democratic Party v. Jones, 530 U. S. 567, 574 (2000).

Kagan then takes on the Court's opinion that finding "a neutral baseline" on which to base a judgement is beyond the capabilities of the courts. Kagan points out the lower courts did exactly that. The lower courts, in fact, did judge the gerrymanders unreasonable by comparing them to a neutral baseline.

Furthermore, the baseline weren't even developed by the courts. The baselines were based on the states' own criteria of drawing districts. The plaintiffs just removed the partisan bias part, and used the other, usual criteria to generate maps, and noted that the biased maps were at the very extreme ends of the partisan bias.

Contrary to the majority’s suggestion, the District Courts did not have to—and in fact did not—choose among competing visions of electoral fairness. That is because they did not try to compare the State’s actual map to an “ideally fair” one (whether based on proportional representation or some other criterion). Instead, they looked at the difference between what the State did and what the State would have done if politicians hadn’t been intent on partisan gain. Or put differently, the comparator (or baseline or touchstone) is the result not of a judge’s philosophizing but of the State’s own characteristics and judgments.

Next, Kagan questions the majority's sincerity when they point out that the political process provides the remedy [at least, I read Kagan as accusing the majority of being disingenuous].

First, once too many "elected" representatives owe their position to gerrymandering, Kagan questions how likely it would be for them to fix it.

Kagan scoffs when the majority points out that in some states, voters have created nonpartisan methods of redistricting by voter initiative. But besides the fact some states don't have voter initiatives,

Some Members of the majority, of course, once thought such initiatives unconstitutional. See Arizona State Legislature, 576 U. S., at ___ (ROBERTS, C. J., dissenting) (slip op., at 1).

[And with the Courts track record on voter suppression, there's little that leads me to believe that federal laws to provide a remedy would pass constitutional muster.]

The majority’s most perplexing “solution” is to look to state courts.... But what do those courts know that this Court does not? If they can develop and apply neutral and manageable standards to identify unconstitutional gerrymanders, why couldn’t we?

Concluding paragraph:

Of all times to abandon the Court’s duty to declare the law, this was not the one. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections. With respect but deep sadness, I dissent.

It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. -- Paul Krugman

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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6692
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 33 of 38 (856782)
07-02-2019 8:18 PM


Citizen question dropped from census form
From The New York Times:

2020 Census Won’t Have Citizenship Question as Trump Administration Drops Effort

The Trump Administration decided to drop the question on citizenship from the census so that they can start printing them.

The decision was a victory for critics who said the question was part of an administration effort to skew the census results in favor of Republicans. It was also a remarkable retreat for an administration that typically digs into such fights.

Still work to be done, though:

The groups’ [the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund] victory on Tuesday may have eased that threat, but hardly eliminated it. The public controversy over the issue has already stirred fears of retribution among many immigrants, who say they will avoid filling out the census form even if the question is not asked.

“Now is the time to shift gears and begin robust education and outreach campaigns to ensure each person in this country is counted,” said Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, which was also among the plaintiffs suing to block the question. “Everyone counts, therefore everyone must be counted.”


It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. -- Paul Krugman

  
LamarkNewAge
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Message 34 of 38 (856875)
07-03-2019 5:21 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Chiroptera
07-02-2019 11:25 AM


Re: Rucho v Common Cause: The dissent
quote:

Kagan starts by outlining the redistricting process used in the Maryland and North Carolina cases, noting they open admitted their goal to give one party or the other a partisan advantage. These cases weren't some obscure borderline cases; they were the obvious and blatant examples you begin with when you start developing remedies.

....

To answer the majorities claim that gerrymanders have made mistakes in the past and that voters are unpredictable, Kagan points out the in these cases, the results were exactly as predicted. Thanks, modern technology!


I think the Maryland change made the Chris Van Hollen (now held by Jamie Raskin) seat more competitive PLUS the seat won by (now Presidential candidate) John Delaney. Before,the change, both were safe seats.

The Republican governor won the 6th district by over 10% in both 2014 and 2018 (candidate Larry Hogan won the "open" 2014 race when Democrats were very much favored to win statewide).

Voters will vote for a more moderate Republican, especially for a state/local race.

We simply don't know which direction a national party will go in. Imagine if Republicans suddenly choose to vote for the pro-immigration presidential candidate in the primary. In a post-Trump era (due to the intense focus and heightened clarity), the Republican candidates might start getting record amounts of credit for being pro-immigration, unlike the past GOP nominees (G. W. Bush was the first Republican to really run on having a pro-immigration mindset, and it did appear to help to attract a growing body of Republican-supporting Hispanic voters).

We don't really know how all the constituent groups (including wealthy white "moderates") will respond, for one thing.

quote:

Next, Kagan questions the majority's sincerity when they point out that the political process provides the remedy (at least, I read Kagan as accusing the majority of being disingenuous).

First, once too many "elected" representatives owe their position to gerrymandering, Kagan questions how likely it would be for them to fix it.

Kagan scoffs when the majority points out that in some states, voters have created nonpartisan methods of redistricting by voter initiative. But besides the fact some states don't have voter initiatives,


California and Florida will have about 85 congressmen total, after 2022.

Both have non-partisan redistricting.

Democrats should have wanted non-partisan redistricting in New York for a longtime, since it might allow for their own reputation to be helped a ton.

Republican-Texas will stick out like a sore thumb, especially considering the checkered history.

Democrats could run on redistricting,in Texas, as part of a "good government" platform. Democrats wouldn't need to make too much of a case convincing voters that the districts can be redrawn at ANY TIME (not only for the first election following the census), and they could promise voters to make "independent districts" as soon as they are elected.

But remember Hillary Clinton won many Texas districts that were drawn to favor Republicans.


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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6692
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.8


(2)
Message 35 of 38 (856945)
07-04-2019 11:16 AM


Aaannnd... the citizenship question is back
From the New York Times:

Justice Dept. Reverses Course on Citizenship Question on Census, Citing Trump’s Orders

So the Justice Dept. is looking into a way to include the citizenship question after all. When asked. Why they changed their minds, they replied that they have no goddamn idea what's going on either.

Joshua Gardner, a Justice Department special counsel for executive branch litigation, responded [to a federderal judge'squestion about this]: “The tweet this morning was the first I had heard of the president’s position on this issue, just like the plaintiffs and Your Honor.”

He added: “I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture other than what the president has tweeted. But, obviously, as you can imagine, I am doing my absolute best to figure out what’s going on.”

Mr. Gardner said that census forms would continue to be printed without the citizenship question, and that federal court rulings barring its inclusion, upheld in part by the Supreme Court, were still in force. But he added that he could not promise that would remain the case.

“This is a fluid situation and perhaps that might change,” he said, “but we’re just not there yet, and I can’t possibly predict at this juncture what exactly is going to happen.”

That seemed an apt summation of the entire census process, which has lurched from lawsuit to crisis and back since the citizenship issue arose, and seemed on the verge of being upended on Wednesday.

And this, in a nutshell, is the incompetence that characterizes the entire Trump Administration.

And remember, this Administration of boobs retains the support of over a third of Americans.

No matter that policies the Administration pushes are actually opposed by large portions of its "base ", they still retain their support.

No matter the cruelty they willingly inflict on other people disturbs large portions of their "base", they still retain their support.

No matter how unqualified they continue to show themselves to be, no matter how venal they are, they retain the support of their "base".

Yet, some how calling the supporters "deplorable" is inexcusable.

Edited by Chiroptera, : Typo in the title.


It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. -- Paul Krugman

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by jar, posted 07-04-2019 4:11 PM Chiroptera has not yet responded

  
jar
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Posts: 31062
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 36 of 38 (857002)
07-04-2019 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Chiroptera
07-04-2019 11:16 AM


Re: Aaannnd... the citizenship question is back
Chiroptera writes:

And remember, this Administration of boobs retains the support of over a third of Americans.

No matter that policies the Administration pushes are actually opposed by large portions of its "base ", they still retain their support.

No matter the cruelty they willingly inflict on other people disturbs large portions of their "base", they still retain their support.

No matter how unqualified they continue to show themselves to be, no matter how venal they are, they retain the support of their "base".

The governments of Italy, Japan, Germany, Tuvan, Finland, Norway and the Soviet Union all had the near complete support of the national populations base in the 1920s through 1940s.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6692
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 37 of 38 (857673)
07-10-2019 9:21 AM


The census question: lawyer tag-out is blocked
From The New York Times:

Judge Rejects Justice Dept. Request to Change Lawyers on Census Case

Blatant and unashamed lying isn't working out so well for the Trump Administration, so they're going to try another tactic which doesn't seem to be "tell the truth". In order to get the citizenship question onto the census, they're switching out the team of lawyers defending the inclusion of the question in court. Unfortunately, they need to explain to the court why they want to replace their lawyers.

On Sunday, the Justice Department said it was replacing the legal team defending the citizenship question. It offered no explanation for the change, which came in the middle of a prolonged clash over whether the administration’s arguments for adding the question could be believed.

But on Tuesday, as a new team of lawyers began to notify the court of its appearance in the case, Judge Furman barred the old lawyers from leaving until they met a legal requirement to satisfactorily explain their departure and show that it would not impede the case. He excepted only two lawyers on the team who had already left the department’s civil division, which was overseeing the lawsuit.

On its face, Judge Furman’s order only enforces a court rule governing changes of legal counsel. Practically, however, it presents the department with a difficult choice: Either reverse course and leave its old legal team in place, or produce sworn explanations that could prove both embarrassing and damaging to the administration’s case.

It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. -- Paul Krugman

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6692
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 38 of 38 (857860)
07-12-2019 8:29 AM


Citizenship question is off again.
From The New York Times:

Trump Says He Will Seek Citizenship Information From Existing Federal Records, Not the Census

  • The Trump Administration has once again changed direction and decided not to include the citizenship question on the census. The data that the Administration claims that it wants can be obtained from other government databases.

  • The Administration admitted that one of their goals is to provide data so states can draw district boundaries base on equal numbers of eligible voters rather than total population.

    “This information is also relevant to administering our elections,” said Mr. Trump. “Some states may want to draw state and local legislative districts, based upon the voter eligible population.”

    Maps based only on the citizen population would reflect an electorate that is more white and less diverse than the nation at large — and generally more favorable to the Republican Party.

  • In Evenwel v Abbott, Justice Ginsburg, speaking for the majority, notes this is an open question whether district boundaries based on eligible voters is permissible.

  • The article doesn't mention the Hofeller thumb drive containing data showing at least one major goal of the citizenship question was to deliberately suppress the count of the immigrant population.

Edited by Chiroptera, : Corrected a copy'n'paste failure.


It says something about the qualities of our current president that the best argument anyone has made in his defense is that he didn’t know what he was talking about. -- Paul Krugman

  
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