Election reformers in both parties had hoped the justices would rein in the intensified use of partisan gerrymandering, a practice in which the party that controls a state legislature uses the process of redrawing electoral districts after the USA census every decade to tighten its grip on power by diluting the influence of voters who tend to support the rival party. A panel of three federal judges ruled 2 to 1 that the state's leaders went too far in using a secretive process for drawing the maps after the 2010 Census.
Supreme Court doesn't reach the merits in... The court has not been successful in developing a test concerning the overreliance on politics.
"The cases are disappointing in that I think many people had hoped the Supreme Court would make a substantive decision one way or another if the court was going to weigh in and to decide the terms when cases like this would present a justiciable controversy and when they wouldn't", said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who runs the website All About Redistricting, in an interview Monday. The Supreme Court, however, said voters from a handful of districts lack the standing to challenge the entire map. "But the court permitted lawsuits against unfair maps to continue".
The case, argued in March, featured a different novel argument against partisan gerrymandering.
"Even if we assume - contrary to the findings of the District Court - that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, the balance of equities and the public interest tilted against their request for a preliminary injunction", the court said.
Roberts walked a fine line in his opinion in the Wisconsin case, finding the challengers did not have the legal right to bring the case.
The plaintiffs alleged that they had a personal stake in the case, "but never followed up with the requisite proof", Roberts wrote. He added, "This is not the usual case".More news: Cannabis oil returned to United Kingdom boy Billy Caldwell after hospitalization
The Supreme Court said that the plaintiffs in Wisconsin had failed to prove that they have the right to sue on a statewide basis, rather than challenge individual districts.
But few believed the opinion would be unanimous. "It's clear several members of the court are upset by the increasingly brazen partisan conduct of legislators that's been clear for awhile". "The Court's constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people before it".
"Partisan gerrymandering no doubt burdens individual votes, but it also causes other harms", Justice Elena Kagan wrote.
She called partisan gerrymandering "incompatible with democratic principles". He could have signed on to Kagan's concurrence, but didn't.
"The plaintiffs' partisan gerrymandering claims turn on allegations that their votes have been diluted".
On Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy stayed relatively silent.
So voting rights advocates will have to wait at least another term to see if they could attract him as a fifth vote to put limits on partisan gerrymanders.
Gerrymandering is the manipulation of political boundaries to give one party a numerical advantage over the other.More news: U.S. withdraws from United Nations human rights body
In an email to HuffPost, Whitford pointed to several measures passed since 2012 by Wisconsin lawmakers who were elected under those arguably unconstitutional maps.
"We now hainve the opportunity to demonstrate the real and concrete harms that result from partisan gerrymandering in the lower court, the same court that struck down the Wisconsin mapping scheme to begin with", he said.
Last week the Supreme Court ruled that states do have the power to control speech within polling places, and that such controls must only be "reasonable" to be legal.
"The fight for fair maps did not end today", the party's statement read.
In the Maryland case - Benisek v. Lamone - the court affirmed a district court's decision not to block Maryland from holding congressional elections using its 2011 map for the 6th Congressional District.
In Maryland, the map had been redrawn by Democrats, while in Wisconsin, Republicans had done the same to gain an advantage. It was the ideal storm, showing both the extreme nature of gerrymandering and how both parties do it.
That case could come from North Carolina pending lawsuits over its voting boundaries.More news: One Dunkin Donuts asks customers to report workers yelling in foreign language