Who Watches The Ratf*ckers?
Yesterday, the Supreme Court reversed an order for Michigan to redraw its completely ratfucked legislative maps before the 2020 election. Because if it involves voter enfranchisement, you can bet the
Judicial Wing of the Republican Party Roberts Court will strike it down.
The reversal took the court just one sentence:
The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for further consideration in light of Rucho v. CommonCause, 588 U.S. ___ (2019).
The decision in League of Women Voters v. Chatfield was bad, albeit expected. The case the order cites to, Rucho v. Common Cause, is the completely bullshit decision the Roberts Court dropped last summer, saying federal courts can't hear partisan gerrymandering cases BECAUSE THE GOP SAYS SO. As your FDF wrote at the time,
I got no jokes, people. This is a very bad day for democracy. We lost Rucho v. Common Cause, the gerrymandering case, in a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice John Roberts giving Republican legislatures a thumbs up to ratfuck electoral maps forever.
In April, a three-judge panel found that Michigan's gerrymandering was so heavily skewed to favor Republicans that it was unconstitutional and ordered the state to redraw its legislative maps before the 2020 election. But now, those bad maps will remain.
Drawing ridiculous maps to undermine democracy and make it harder (if not impossible) to vote Republicans out of office is a tried and true GOP tactic. And it works. In Wisconsin's 2018 legislative elections, Democrats won 205,000 more votes than Republicans and 53% of the Assembly vote statewide -- and still won only a third of seats in the General Assembly.
Gerrymandering is one of the myriad of ways the Republican Party has systematically tried to dismantle voting rights. And while there are some issues where Chief Justice John Roberts pretends to be reasonable, he has made it VERY CLEAR that there's at least one way he is a true "originalist" -- he only thinks rich white men should have the right to vote. From gutting the Voting Rights Act to kicking gerrymandering cases out of federal court entirely, the Roberts Court has done all that it can to keep American citizens out of the voting booth.
For just how bad partisan gerrymandering is, let's take a look at Judge Kagan's dissent in Rucho:
The partisan gerrymanders in these cases deprived citizens of the most fundamental of their constitutional rights: the rights to participate equally in the political process, to join with others to advance political beliefs, and to choose their political representatives. In so doing, the partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people. These gerrymanders enabled politicians to entrench themselves in office as against voters' preferences. They promoted partisanship above respect for the popular will. They encouraged a politics of polarization and dysfunction. If left unchecked, gerrymanders like the ones here may irreparably damage our system of government.
So that's great.
Fuck. So what do we do now?
The only saving grace in all of this is that the Supreme Court only has final say over the federal Constitution -- it can't tell states how to interpret state constitutions. And a lot of states have constitutions that go farther than the federal Constitution in protecting voting rights. In North Carolina, for example -- the state whose maps were at issue in Rucho -- a panel of judges has already told the state the legislative maps have to be redrawn.
Michigan is trying to take steps to stop the GOP ratfucking their legislative map-drawing quite so much. In 2018, Michigan voters added Proposal 2 to their state constitution, creating an independent redistricting commission for the 2022 election. The amendment prohibits elected officials, political appointees, lobbyists, and political party officials from serving on the commission.
Independent and truly nonpartisan redistricting commissions would be a great thing for creating a more democratic republic. Naturally, the Republican Party roundly opposes them.
Yesterday's decision does not affect Michigan's redistricting commission. However, the GOP is challenging Michigan's redistricting commission in a separate federal lawsuit. Because there's nothing Republicans hate more than letting people vote. And if John Roberts continues to toe the party line in every voting rights issue that crosses his desk, we're in for a long haul.
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