The Supreme Court on Friday puts on lower-court decisions that said Ohio and Michigan had come up with new electoral maps because of unconstitutional partisan wrestling.
The decision was not surprising, because the justices are currently considering whether judges should have a role in policing partisan wrestling. There were no dissents in the orders for either state.
The Supreme Court heard in arguments in similar cases from North Carolina, where judges found that Republicans had manipulated congressional maps to their advantage, and from Maryland, where Democratic lawmakers redrew a district that resulted in a long-term Republican congressman.
While the Supreme Court regularly examines redistricting plans for signs of racial wrestling, it has never found a plan so infected with partisan politics that it violates the rights of voters. The decision in the North Carolina and Maryland cases are expected before the end of June
With the decisions from Ohio and Michigan, federal courts in five states have struck down maps as partisan gerrymanders. The courts in the Ohio and Michigan decisions ordered the states to come up with new maps that could be used in the 2020 elections.
But lawyers for the states argued that would be foolhardy until the Supreme Court has ruled. Attorneys at Ohio's court that the legislature has not had to "waste time on a difficult legislative activity likely to prove completely unnecessary." Even if the court's decision is that federal courts have a role in monitoring partisan dismissal, Ohio argued in its request to the court, that will require the district court to return to the drawing board on the question of liability, make new findings as necessary, and apply what this court declares to be the law to this case in the first instance. ”
Michigan sounded a similar theme. "Time and again, this court has granted stays when other district courts have invoked partisan to force legislatures to enact new maps," said lawyers for the Michigan Senate. "Michigan, no less than Wisconsin or North Carolina, to avoid judicially inflicted political upheaval based on a theory this court has repeatedly declined to adopt." [OftenlowercourtswillhavewhiletheSupremeCourtisconsideringanissueButtheunanimouspanelthatfoundthatsomeofMichigan'slegislativeandcongressionalmapswereunconstitutionalseemedtosendamessagetothehighcourt
"Judges – and justices – must be in accordance with their obligation to find the constitutional rights of those harmed by partisan gerrymandering, ”Judge Eric L. Clay of the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit wrote in the Michigan case.
The Ohio court took a similar approach in its decision.
such claims, "the panel said in its unanimous ruling.