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Robin Smith / April 1, 2019

Gerrymandering Rules May Vary With Results

Democrats are once again in court trying to change election rules after they lost.

When leftists fail to win races, they work overtime to change the rules, take people to court, or otherwise attempt to overturn elections and the voice of the people through any number of means. If ever there was a doubt that these folks consider the U.S. Constitution optional at best, or that they think the role of the judiciary is subject to the whims of a “disenfranchised” Democrat who has lost an election or disagrees with the outcome of an election or policy, let the recent activity around gerrymandering cases being reviewed by the Supreme Court serve to inform.

Announced in January, just months after avoiding a ruling on two other cases from Wisconsin and Maryland, SCOTUS has begun reviewing two cases dealing with the constitutionally required practice that determines the geography, boundaries, voter composition based on key demographics. The current proceedings related to complaints from North Carolina and still Maryland are before a Court that includes two new faces — Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — with hopes they’ll see the Constitution as the plumb line to which they measure, not arguments that overturn frameworks in place from the states.

Specifically, Article I, Section 2 and Amendment XIV, Section 2 hold the apportionment clause on which various congressionally approved acts have been built. Originally, the apportionment or construction of both congressional and state legislative districts reflected districts for elected officials that were “contiguous, compact, and equally populated.” The issue of representation based on population in the House was one of the priorities of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The debate also included arguments from those who wanted states with the greatest contribution of wealth via taxes to run the newly formed government to have more representation. Yet population prevailed as the key factor.

Leftists want to discard parts of the Constitution’s provision to conduct presidential elections via the Electoral College. They also want to “pack the court” by dramatically increasing the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to some expanded number they will arbitrarily pick to guarantee it leans leftward. And they also argue that apportionment, or redistricting, should be revamped and decided by the courts or some unelected body that will forgo the current practice that, while administered by the majority partisan party of the state legislature, reflects the votes of the people, not a disgruntled agenda.

Is redistricting political? Yes. The process has remained in the hands of those elected to serve in the majority by citizens of the very states where the apportioned geographies are drawn and enforced. Now, with the ever-growing drama of the Democrats fueled by the harsh leftward lurch of the socialists who can no longer mask themselves to be Republican-lite, the efforts to have courts intervene along with boards and commissions that do not answer to the voter is heightened. The most organized effort is led by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, headed up by none other than Barack Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder.

The practice of gerrymandering gained its funny name when former Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a bill that favorably drew district lines to benefit his fellow Democratic-Republicans (the party created by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in 1792 to oppose the Federalists). The name “Gerrymander” came from a merging of the governor’s last name and the appearance of one of the unusually shaped districts that resembled a salamander.

A few weeks ago, the Nancy Pelosi-led House passed the “For the People Act.” Among its many provisions is the one that would assign control and jurisdiction over apportionment to, you guessed it, “independent, nonpartisan commissions.” These unelected groups of individuals answer to the politicians that appoint them, not to the citizens impacted by their actions. You see, now, and only now, there is a crisis that has given the Center-Right the advantage in redistricting and swift action must ensue to deal with the alleged calamity that, despite the clutching of pearls and gasps, has been practiced by state legislatures since our nation’s Constitution was accepted as the Law of the Land.

Understand the timing. The outcome of the elections on the even-numbered year at the end of a 10-year cycle is the mark that awards the power of reapportionment. Currently, 61% of the state legislative bodies in the 50 states are controlled by Republicans. In 2020, the party in majority control of states will determine how the census data is applied in drawing districts using the legislative authority for their respective states. There is not an apportionment standard that’s identical across the country. States have created their guides to include contiguity, compactness, and the preservation of counties with the range of population to meet the criteria for a district. Some prohibitions exist among the various states that protect incumbents and political divisions but, again, these are decided by state legislative actions by those elected by the voters of the respective states — not unelected, faceless individuals who are appointed.

Applying that same mindset, along with the separation of powers, judges are not elected at the federal and Supreme Court level. Beyond determining constitutional muster and merit, assigning any responsibility to the judiciary above and beyond the determination as to whether apportionment is constitutional or not is an act that exceeds the role of judges. Simply put, Democrats want the courts to function as a supra-legislative body that negates elections, legislation, and practices they decide harm their cause. Courts should recognize the jurisdictional creep and voters should express their dismay about redistricting to their state legislative bodies. As Democrats continue to struggle with their extreme party that has difficulty winning elections, aiming to change the rules is their desperate last hope.

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