How Could Anyone Expect There To Still Be Rule Of Law After 4 Years Of Trump?
Maryland Democrats gerrymandered the state’s map in such a way as to end Andy Harris’ chances for reelection. Harris is Maryland’s last Republican in Congress. His current East Shore district has an R+28 partisan lean and the legislature brought that down to a partisan lean of R+1, a district an extremist lunatic like Harris would likely lose. When the gerrymander was deemed too extreme by a state judge, Harris wound up with his district staying nice and comfortable (R+25). As punishment for Democratic overreach, New Dem David Trone’s western district went from a safe D+16 to a dangerously swingy R+1. Trone is so worried about his dimmed reelection prospects that he wrote his campaign a $12,552,000 check. His GOP opponent, Hagerstown Tea Party founder and state Rep. Neil Parrott had only raised $327,021 by the June 29th FEC reporting deadline. On primary day, 56,201 Democrats voted and 50,631 Republicans voted.
The situation New York Democrats created was as unfair to Republicans as anything deep red states have ever done to Democrats. They took New York’s map, which includes 7 Republican districts (+3 swing districts), and turned it into one with just 4 Republican districts (+ 3 swing districts). A Republican judge threw it out and then got even. New York now has 6 solid Republican districts and 4 swing districts.
Democrats in Maryland and New York are paying for their sins— as they should. Hopefully— albeit doubtfully— it will teach them a lesson. But, according to a Michael Wines analysis in today’s NY Times, cheating Republicans in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Ohio are not being asked to pay for their sins, although they maps were ruled illegal gerrymanders. In fact, the illegal maps are being used anyway! How is that possible? The illegitimate Trump Supreme Court has thrown out any semblance of election fairness. The net result will be 5 to 7 stolen red House seats.
Some election law scholars say they are troubled by the consequences in the long run.
“We’re seeing a revolution in courts’ willingness to allow elections to go forward under illegal or unconstitutional rules,” Richard Hasen, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and the director of its Safeguarding Democracy Project, said in an interview. “And that’s creating a situation in which states are getting one free illegal election before they have to change their rules.”
Behind much of the change is the Supreme Court’s embrace of an informal legal doctrine stating that judges should not order changes in election procedures too close to an actual election.
…Critics argue that the court is effectively saying that a smoothly run election is more important than a just one. And they note that the longstanding guidance in redistricting cases— from the court’s historic one person, one vote ruling in 1964— is that using an illegal map in an election should be “the unusual case.”
…The headline example came in January in Alabama, where a three-judge federal panel state the state legislature had likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting Black voters’ power in its new map of the state’s seven House seats.
The judges ordered the legislature to draw a new map exactly for months before the May primary elections— a stretch of time that, not long ago, another Supreme Court would have considered generous.
But the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay blocking the order two weeks later, restoring the rejected map for this election.
…In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan shot back: “Alabama is not entitled to keep violating Black Alabamians’ voting rights just because the court’s order came down in the first month of an election year.”
A month later, a federal judge in Georgia cited Kavanaugh’s words in deciding not to order a new congressional map for that state— this time three months before primary elections— even though he said the State Legislature’s map, like Alabama’s, probably violated the Voting Rights Act.
And in June, the Supreme Court blocked a lower court order for a new congressional map in Louisiana on the same grounds. The justices did not explain their reasoning.
Ohio is one of the most egregiously gerrymandered states in the country. The state’s current 16 congressional districts have been drawn to pack Democrats into three districts with one swing district. The new map (15 districts) leaves Democrats with just 2, while creating 2 swing districts, one leaning slightly blue and one leaning slightly red. The legislators’ plan for 2022 is to defeat Marcy Kaptur by turning her previously D+16 lean district into an R+6 lean, while turning OH-13 (the district Tim Ryan is leaving) into a swing district with an R+2 advantage. I was surprised to see them give Democrats an opportunity for a pickup by creating a blue-leaning swing district in Cincinnati (D+3), endangering GOP incumbent Steve Chabot. His Democratic opponent, city councilman Greg Landsman, is a garden variety Democrat with heavily DCCC backing.
What the Republican legislature did in Georgia was to take 2 swing suburban districts north of (GA-06 and -07), one represented by Carolyn Bourdeaux and one represented by Lucy McBath and create one blue district (GA-07) and one prohibitively red district (GA-06, which had a D+1 partisan lean and now has an R+24 lean). Meanwhile, they also redrew the southwest corner of the state to turn Sanford Bishop’s relatively safe Democratic seat (GA-02 with a D+6 lean) into a less safe D+4 seat, which could flip red in a year like this.
What the state legislatures did in Alabama and Louisiana was classic packing. As many Black voters as they could get into one Alabama district is in AL-07 (D+29), making both AL-02 and AL-06 safely white (and Republican). In Louisiana, the GOP legislature did something similar— putting all the Black voters in New Orleans and Baton Rouge into one district (D+56), guaranteeing white Republicans win the rest of the state.