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Michael Li @mcpli
, 38 tweets, 17 min read Read on Twitter
2018 was a busy and, in many ways, head spinning year on the redistricting front - with action in both state and federal court and at the ballot box. A look back. #fairmaps 1/
Things kicked off on January 5, when the special master in the racial gerrymandering challenge to North Carolina's legislative maps issued his recommendations on how the maps should be redrawn.… #fairmaps 2/
Then, on Jan 9, while the court in the NC racial gerrymandering case was weighing recommendations for fixes to the legislative maps, a different federal court issued a ruling striking down NC's congressional map as a partisan gerrymander.… #fairmaps 3/
Meanwhile, a pair of partisan gerrymandering challenges to Pennsylvania's congressional map - one brought in state court and one in federal court - were also pending. #fairmaps 4/
On Jan 10, the court in the federal case rejected the challenge, which had been based on the federal constitution's Elections Clause. it #fairmaps 5/
But two weeks later, on Jan 22, the PA Supreme Court struck down the congressional map for violating the state constitution & ordered that it be redrawn. This would set off a truly bizarre set of maneuvers to try to stave off a new map.… #fairmaps 6/
Those efforts would involve arguing that the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court somehow violated the federal constitution on the theory that only state legislatures could draw congressional maps. #fairmaps 7/
The claim was so frivolous that Justice Alito didn't bother referring it to the whole court but simply denied it on his own. #fairmaps 8/
But wait! Pennsylvania Republicans weren't done. They filed another stay request at the Supreme Court to try to block the redrawing of the map - and then when that didn't work, appealed the new map. In both instances, making essentially the same argument. #fairmaps 9/
But, as the late-night commercials say, wait, there's more! In addition to trying to get the US Supreme Court to block redrawing of the map, PA Republicans also threatened to impeach the state supreme court justices who struck down the map.… #fairmaps 10/
Fortunately, those efforts didn't get anywhere - at least not yet. #fairmaps 11/
Meanwhile in North Carolina, the federal court in the legislative racial gerrymandering case issued a ruling on Jan 19 adopting new maps for the 2018 election.… #fairmaps 12/
Which NC Republicans not surprising appealed to the Supreme Court. #fairmaps 13/
At the same time, they sought and obtained a stay putting on redrawing of the NC congressional map on hold. #fairmaps 14/
This would set up an interesting midterm contrast between PA and NC - two of the most extremely gerrymandered states, one which would have a new map and one which would continue to use its gerrymandered map. #fairmaps 15/
In the mean time, 2018 also was - or so we thought - the year of partisan gerrymandering at SCOTUS, where with cases out of WI and MD, the Supreme Court would finally have a chance to say when maps go too far. Ah, hindsight. #fairmaps 16/
When the Supreme Court ruled, it . . . punted . . . again, though not without some helpful roadmapping.… #fairmaps 17/
But then . . . Justice Kennedy, whom many had looked to as the savior on partisan gerrymandering (perhaps too much so), retired. #fairmaps 18/
However, if there was any concern that lower courts would be skittish about taking on the subject, that hasn't proven to be the case (though that's perhaps made easier by the egregiousness of the cases before them). #fairmaps 19/
In late August, the three-judge panel in the NC partisan gerrymandering case again struck down the state's congressional map, setting the stage for return of the NC case to SCOTUS in spring 2019.… #fairmaps 20/
Then in November, the panel in the Maryland partisan gerrymandering case struck down the Democratic gerrymander of MD's congressional map - and thanks to an agreement for expedited briefing, that case also looks set for SCOTUS in the spring.… #fairmaps 21/
But the redistricting action this year hasn't just been in partisan gerrymandering. The summer also brought three *new* cases seeking creation of additional majority-minority congressional districts in AL, LA, and MS. #fairmaps 22/
More on the AL, LA, and MS cases available here:… #fairmaps 23/
This summer also brought an end - with one narrow exception - to the long-running fights over Texas' congressional and state house maps, which a SCOTUS decision that overturned findings of intentional discrimination.… #fairmaps 24/
One state house district in Fort Worth will need to be tweaked to undo racial gerrymandering, but the bigger changes that plaintiffs were hoping for in the maps were rejected - though efforts to bail Texas back into preclearance coverage are proceeding. #fairmaps 25/
Meanwhile, in Virginia, fights over the state's house of delegates with a federal court ruling in June that 11 districts needed to be redrawn to undo racial gerrymandering.… #fairmaps 26/
When the political branches couldn't agree on a new map, the court appointed a special master to make recommendations, which came on Dec 7.… #fairmaps 27/
As the year ends, though, Virginia Republicans are asking the Supreme Court to put the process of adopting a new map on hold, pending an appeal of the case the high court will hear in the spring.… #fairmaps 28/
And let's not leave out Georgia, where a series of challenges to both legislative and congressional maps are pending. #fairmaps 29/
On the legislative side, two cases (here:… and here:…) contend that Georgia's 2015 mid-decade redraw of its state house map is unconstitutional for both racial and partisan reasons & also violates the Voting Rights Act. #fairmaps 30/
And on the congressional side, a new suit filed this summer contends that Georgia's congressional map illegally dilutes the voting strength of African Americans.… #fairmaps 31/
(If all this sounds like a lot of redistricting litigation to still be going on in the eighth year of the decade - only a couple of years before the next redistricting cycle - you're right. Welcome to American exceptionalism, example 876760) #fairmaps 32/
Oh, and that's not even counting the new challenge to North Carolina's legislative maps filed on Nov 13 in state court.… #fairmaps 33/
But the good news is that we summarize the pending cases here:… #fairmaps 34/
And you can always find opinions, orders, pleadings and the like in cases here:… #fairmaps 35/
But if 2018 was a year of a lot of redistricting action in the courts, it also was the year of a lot of redistricting *reform* at the ballot box, with voters in five states approving measures to make the process work better in 2021.… #fairmaps 36/
And that I suspect is a harbinger of the future. Redistricting has tended to occur in the dark. It may still yet in many places - but more than ever people of all political stripes get it, understand the need for fixes, understand the need to participate. #fairmaps 37/
The 2021 map cycle will bring its own set of challenges (every cycle is different), but it also will bring - I suspect - a far more engaged and empowered citizenry than ever before. #fairmaps 38/
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