Monday, July 10, 2017

Special Interests And Spinmeisters Efforts To Surreptitiously Capture Our Legislatures

Originally Published June 19, 2017; Last Updated July 24, 2017; Last Republished July 10, 2017:

Special interests and spinmeisters efforts to surreptitiously capture our legislatures has stalled in a standoff at the United States Supreme Court.

Today, the court has stayed the Wisconsin gerrymandering1 case of the Western District of Wisconsin, case No. 3:15-cv-00421 while it hears the questions presented by Gill, Beverly R et al. v. Whitford, William et al. (16-1161).

Get media background about the case at Fair Elections Project Newsroom and Loyola, Litigation in the 2010 cycle for status of redistricting lawsuits.


UPDATED 07/24/2107
Ozy, Not So Supreme and Vox, The Research That Convinced SCOTUS To Take The Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case, Explained

UPDATED 07/10/2017 BostonGlobe, It’s unfair and Unjust. So Why Has Gerrymandering Lasted This Long? Isn't gerrymandering just one of many methods used to manipulate election outcomes in modern democracies?
UPDATED 06/30/2017 Wisconsin Gazette, Milwaukee County supervisors urge state to change redistricting process as issue heads to high court and Quartz, The Supreme Court case that could shift how Americans vote rests on a simple math equation and WP, The Supreme Court is in no hurry to protect voters from gerrymandering


UPDATED 06/25/2017 MTCommerce, Geographic Update Partnership (GUPS) Training Webinar and The U.S. Census Bureau's Geographic Update Partnership Software (GUPS), a QGIS based solution and 2017 U.S. Census Bureau's BAS Program Webinar and Census, Block Boundary Suggestion Project Participant Guide



UPDATED 06/22/2017 GIS Fundamentals and Mapping 1-20: Introduction (playlist) and QGIS for Your Platform and Documentation for QGIS 2.14 (Practice Data, TIGER/Line Shapefile, 2016, nation, U.S., 115th Congressional District National)
UPDATED 06/22/2017 OSGeo Foundation, OSGeo Foundation
API, Earth Engine



UPDATED 06/25/2017 Census, 2020 Census Program Phases
UPDATED 06/24/2017 TUM, Greater Democracy Through Mathematics
UPDATED 06/22/2017 Loyola, All About Redistricting and Brennan Center for Justice, Redistricting
UPDATED 06/20/2017 Moon Duchin - Metrics of Fairness A geometric group theorist on gerrymandering:

UPDATED 06/22/2017 SnagFilms, How Elections Are Rigged - "Gerrymandering"

Wired, Gerrymandering Has a Solution After All. It's Called Math
Ballotpedia, Understanding Redistricting and Redistricting in Wisconsin

CrashCourse, Gerrymandering: Crash Course Government and Politics #37

Courthouse News Service, Supreme Court Takes Up Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case
NYT, Justices to Hear Major Challenge to Partisan Gerrymandering and CampaignLegalCenter, Supreme Court Will Hear Oral Arguments In Landmark Partisan Gerrymandering Case, Gill v. Whitford


UPDATED 07/17/2017 JoweiChenThe Impact of Political Geography on Wisconsin Redistricting: An Analysis of Wisconsin’s Act 43 Assembly Districting Plan UPDATED 06/23/2017 BrennanCenter, Extreme Maps
UPDATED 06/20/2017 Wikipedia, Gill v. Whitford and Gerrymandering in the United States
UPDATED 06/20/2017 Priceonomics, Can an Algorithm Eliminate the Unfairness of Gerrymandering?

UPDATED 06/20/2017 Hein, Chicago Law Review, Partisan Gerrymandering and the Efficiency Gap Nicholas 0. Stephanopoulost & Eric M McGheef
UPDATED 06/20/2017 Justia, Vieth v. Jubelirer  541 U.S. 267 (2004) and Davis v. Bandemer  478 U.S. 109 (1986)
Public Mapping Project, Wisconsin
Legislative Technology Services Bureau, Wisconsin Legislative Map Library (Includes Act 43)
GeoPlatform, United States Map with 114th Congressional District Overlay
United States Census Bureau Wisconsin Congressional District Maps: 115th and 113th
Wisconsin's Application for Stay Pending Resolution of Direct Appeal
Gill v. Whitford Opinion and Order 15-cv-421-bbc (Western District Wisconsin)

Redistricting Mathematics:

Census Bureau:


1. Special interests invest enormous sums of money to corrupt our legislatures, which returns a value near zero if "their" patron politician leaves office. A positive return on investment is more likely if "their" politician remains in office—enter gerrymandering. Eliminating gerrymandering will  decrease that chance and perhaps end the corrupting investments altogether?

Unfortunately, our United States Supreme Court has historically eschewed these "messy political issues" tending to characterize corrupting special interest investments as speech. But, before stalemate and standoff turns into shooting and deadlocked democracy it may want to reconsider what's messier, deadlocked democracy or political questions.

Interestingly, our United States Supreme Court can avoid a "messy political question" by turning it into a mathematics problem, here and there? For background on the case origin see Harvard Law Review, Whitford v. Gill District Court Offers New Standard to Hold Wisconsin Redistricting Scheme Unconstitutional. and Three Practical Tests for Gerrymandering: Application to Maryland and Wisconsin Samuel S.-H. Wang Princeton University 

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