The most important Supreme Court case in the new term beginning the first Monday in October is Whitford v. Gill: Partisan gerrymandering case before SCOTUS; SCOTUS to review partisan gerrymandering in Whitford v. Gill (the appeal at SCOTUS is now captioned Gill v. Whitford).
The New York Times Magazine recently published a lengthy investigative report as a preview of the issues in what may become a landmark case, The New Front in the Gerrymandering Wars: Democracy vs. Math (snippet):
Political scientists and mathematicians have been trying ever since to create a standard that will satisfy Justice Kennedy — still the court’s crucial swing vote. They argue that with the help of experts, courts themselves can use the mapmakers’ advanced tools to assess and block gerrymandering.
Last November, relying on the same kind of analyses as the map drafters, the three-judge panel in the second Wisconsin case struck down the state’s 2011 redistricting law. The Republicans appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear the case on Oct. 3.
The outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gill v. Whitford is likely to shape American politics for years and perhaps decades to come.
There has been some surprising new developments this week. The New York Times reports, Prominent Republicans Urge Supreme Court to End Gerrymandering:
Breaking ranks with many of their fellow Republicans, a group of prominent politicians filed briefs on Tuesday urging the Supreme Court to rule that extreme political gerrymandering — the drawing of voting districts to give lopsided advantages to the party in power — violates the Constitution.
The briefs were signed by Republicans including Senator John McCain of Arizona; Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio; Bob Dole, the former Republican Senate leader from Kansas and the party’s 1996 presidential nominee; the former senators John C. Danforth of Missouri, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming; and Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former governor of California.
“Partisan gerrymandering has become a tool for powerful interests to distort the democratic process,” reads a brief filed by Mr. McCain and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case, Gill v. Whitford, No. 16-1161, on Oct. 3.