Friday, December 6, 2019

Special Interests And Spinmeisters Efforts To Surreptitiously Capture Our Legislatures

Originally Published June 19, 2017; Last Updated December 06, 2019; Last Republished  December 06, 2019:

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

Our "representative democracy" has retrogressed to a form of feudalism where the overlords convey a fiefdom (safe-seat) to their congressional vassal in exchange for that vassal's allegiance2. What is the voters' roll in such a retrogressive feudalism, beyond revolt?

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 07/01/2019 Atlantic, John Roberts Says Partisan Gerrymandering Is Not His Problem and Reuters, In Major Elections Ruling, U.S. Supreme Court Allows Partisan Map Drawing and NYT, Supreme Court Bars Challenges to Partisan Gerrymandering and SCOTUS, Rucho v Common Cause (pdf)

...punting partisan gerrymandering to Congress or citizen committees or state courts or others harms the court's credibility and disrupts our experiment with 's difficult to imagine a more fundamentally justiciable question or what the court's "conservative bloc" expects their punt to achieve...maybe a gratuitous stress test... (

UPDATED 05/30/2019 WP, Despite Trump Administration Denials, New Evidence Suggests Census Citizenship Question Was Crafted to Benefit White Republicans

...really, the white racist Republican Party cum RAG (Ruse Artifice Gimmick) Party undermine our democracy and mislead or lie to disadvantage others...that's Russia's gig, isn't it...

UPDATED 04/06/2019 SupremeCourt, Rucho v. Common Cause (Partisian Gerrymandering Audio of Oral Argument)

UPDATED 03/26/2019 WP, Hogan, Schwarzenegger Rail Against Gerrymandering as Supreme Court Hears Arguments and Reuters, U.S. Supreme Court Conservatives, Liberals Differ on Gerrymandering

...saying that district map drawing is an "inherently political act" does not imply map drawing without rules...even for hard politically partisan questions...

UPDATED 01/04/2019 Reuters, U.S. Top Court Takes Up Politically Charged Electoral Map Disputes

...will consider electoral maps drawn by Republicans in North Carolina and by Democrats in Maryland in March 2019...

UPDATED 04/23/2108 TexasTribune, Texas Redistricting Fight Returns to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's What You Need to Know  (QP, Docket for 17-586) and USSC, Transcript Oral Arguments 17-586

UPDATED 03/28/2018 Reuters, Supreme Court Finds Solution Elusive in Pivotal Electoral Map Case Hum,I thought by definition the motto of our Supreme Court is:

 "We provide equal justice under the 'upsetting settled expectations'"

It is difficult to imagine a Supreme Court case that does not "upset settled expectations"...the lesser courts decided those cases!

UPDATED 03/20/2018 Reuters, Supreme Court upholds Pennsylvania [State Supreme Court Drawn] election map in win for [Fair Elections] Democrats

It seems useful to distinguish between electoral and district maps drawn with partisanship and those drawn to carry out dogma (aka extremely asymmetric map). The latter is rarely, if ever desirable in a democracy.

UPDATED 02/05/2018 Reuters, U.S. Supreme Court Allows Revamp of Pennsylvania Electoral Map

Kudos to our judiciary branches (federal and state) who've demonstrated an ability to rein in our "out of control" legislative and executive branches on issues of fundamental significance to our ongoing experiment in democracy3.
"...The Jan. 22 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling gives Republican legislators until this Friday to submit a revised map to Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, who would have until Feb. 15 to sign off on the changes. If those deadlines pass without an agreement, the state court said it [special masters] would rewrite the map itself..."--Reuters--
UPDATED 10/07/2017 WP, The Supreme Court discussed my research on gerrymandering. There were some misconceptions and RegisterNapa, Guest editorial: Free pass must not be given to partisan gerrymandering

UPDATED 10/04/2017 Gill v. Whitford Oral Argument Official Transcript October 03, 2017

In a bit of Möbius loop irony the Chief Justice seems to imply that our democracy depends on biased and asymmetric redistricting maps!

A decision by the Court that partisans must run their races on an unbiased and symmetric field is not mandating proportional representation. It's the Court simply saying when partisans run races they must race on the same field. One partisan cannot run the 100 yard dash on a circular inner ring while another runs the hurdles on an elliptical outer ring!
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: No, but you're going to take this -- the whole point is you're taking these issues away from democracy and you're throwing them into the courts pursuant to, and it may be simply my educational background, but I can only describe as sociological gobbledygook.

MR. SMITH: Your Honor, this is -­ this is not complicated. It is a measure of how unfair the map is. How much burden can the party -­

JUSTICE BREYER: Can you say this? Look, don't agree with me just because it sounds favorable, because he won't in two minutes. Can you answer the Chief Justice's question and say the reason they lost is because if party A wins a majority of votes, party A controls the legislature. That seems fair. And if party A loses a majority of votes, it still controls the legislature. That doesn't seem fair. And can we say that without going into what I agree is pretty good gobbledygook? (Laughter.)

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And if you need a convenient label for that approach, you can call it proportional representation, which has never been accepted as a political principle in the history of this country.

MR. SMITH: Your Honor, we are not arguing for proportional representation. We are arguing for partisan symmetry, a map which within rough bounds at least treats the two parties relatively equal in terms of their ability to translate votes into seats. That's -­

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: That sounds exactly like proportional representation to me.
The Court need not await a protected-partisan to sit on the infield watching others futilely race around the track before providing standards, which cut partisan gerrymandering—or as Justice Anthony Kennedy put it during oral arguments write into law that:

"...all legitimate factors must be used in a way to favor party X or party Y,..."
—Anthony Kennedy, Oral Argument, Gill v Whitford—

UPDATED 10/08/2017 Oyes, Gill v. Whitford Oral Argument Argument Audio


UPDATED 12/06/2019 CBSNews, Republican Congressman Retires After North Carolina Redraws Gerrymandered Map

...states begin acting to constrain partisan gerrymandering after years of dodging (some might say legal malpractice) by the Supreme is amazing (or amusing depending on your perspective) how responsive to voters our representatives are when the law forbids them from picking their own voters (i.e gerrymandering the census district maps)...

...the so-called "safe districts" are in no small part contributing to the hyper partisan state of our nation...when politicians represent heterogeneous districts they will not get elected or reelected with dogma, doctrine or drivel (e.g. vote for me I'm a god-fearing white racist or nationalist)...

...gerrymander all the "god-fearing white racists (nationalists) " into a homogeneous district and they'll soon be represented by a "god-fearing white racist (nationalist)" and carrying tiki torch shouting "blood and soil" and "you will not replace us" etc.

UPDATED 08/10/2019 Science, Math on Trial
...the Supreme Court's recent partisan gerrymandering (non)opinion uses gobbledygook instead of well understood mathematics to deliver an unresponsive and unreasoned (non)opinion...

UPDATED 11/29/2018 NYT, What’s Stronger Than a Blue Wave? Gerrymandered Districts
UPDATED 11/08/2018 WP, Federal Judges in Gerrymandering Case Toss Maryland’s Congressional Voting Map
 and Case 1:13-cv-03233-JKB Document 222 Filed 11/07/18 Page 1 of 68
"...BREDAR, Chief District Judge, concurring in the judgment: Partisan gerrymandering is noxious, a cancer on our democracy. See Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267, 292 (2004) (plurality opinion) (concluding that severe partisan gerrymanders are incompatible with democratic principles); Ariz. State Legislature v. Ariz. Indep. Redistricting Comm’n, 135 S. Ct. 2652, 2677 (2015) (stating that to curb partisan gerrymandering is to restore “the core principle of republican government” that “voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around”) (quoting Mitchell N. Berman, Managing Gerrymandering, 83 Texas L. Rev. 781, 781 (2005)); Gill v. Whitford, 138 S. Ct. 1916, 1940–41 (2018) (Kagan, J., concurring) (“At its most extreme, [partisan gerrymandering] amounts to ‘rigging elections.’”)..."
UPDATED 06/25/2018 USSC, Abbott v. Perez 585 U. S. ____ (2018) June 25, 2018 and NYT, Supreme Court Upholds Texas Voting Maps That Were Called Discriminatory {except,  Tarrant County] and Vox, Supreme Court Splits 5-4 on Texas Racial Gerrymandering Case

UPDATED 06/18/2018 Reuters, Supreme Court Declines To Curb Electoral Map Manipulation and Reuters, Supreme Court Rejects Republican Bid To Block Maryland Electoral District and Benisek v. Lamone and Gill v. Whitford
...curiously the Court, acknowledges that guidance on partisan gerrymandering has been lacking for five decades and plans to continue the trend...declaring a state resident assigned, by a partisan politician to one state district is not specifically harmed (i.e. lacks standing to challenge) by what a partisan politician is doing in any of the other districts of that state...a questionable declaration, at best, which unnecessarily complicates partisan gerrymandering while encouraging much less judicial economy...

UPDATED 06/02/2018 Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

UPDATED 01/30/2018 BaltimoreSun, Md. Should Lead the Way on Redistricting Reform, Starting Now and Chronicle, Duke Research Makes Mark on Federal Court Cases Over North Carolina Gerrymandering

UPDATED 01/27/2018 UnionConcernedScientists, Science and the Law: Two Pillars of Truth Intersect at Political Boundaries and UCS, Sociological Gobbledygook or Scientific Standard? Why Judging Gerrymandering is Hard
"...More fundamentally, there is no constitutional basis for dismissing Plaintiffs' claims as judicially unmanageable—not because they are irrelevant, unreliable, or incorrectly applied, but simply because they rely on new, sophisticated empirical methods that derive from academic research. The Constitution does not require the federal courts to act like Galileo's Inquisition and enjoin consideration of new academic theories, and the knowledge gained therefrom, simply because such theories provide a new understanding of how to give effect to our long-established governing principles. See Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way 97-101 (1989). That is not what the founding generation did when it adopted a Constitution grounded in the then-untested political theories of Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau. That is not what the Supreme Court did when it recognized that advances in our understanding of psychology had proven that separate could not be equal. And that is not what we do here...” CAUSE v. RUCHO, @page 75
Our Supreme Court must help our nation "up its game" by demonstrating a preference for concepts derived using science over those derived using wacky theology, fairy tales, a tooth fairy, Santa Claus, myths, or gobbledygook etc.

UPDATED 01/26/2018 Economist, Republicans in Pennsylvania Ask the Supreme Court to Restore Their Map
UPDATED 01/25/2018 NewYorker, The Courts Take Aim at Partisan Gerrymandering

...don't forget to laugh...

UPDATED 01/22/2018 PhillyDotCom, Pa. Supreme Court Strikes Down Congressional Map as Unconstitutional, Orders Change Before May Primary and Reuters, Pennsylvania Court Orders New Congressional Map Due to Gerrymandering and AP, Pennsylvania Court Throws Out Congressional Boundaries and PA Supreme Court, Jan. 22, 2018 - Per Curiam Order, League of Women Voters, et al. v. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. – 159 MM 2017 and PACourts, League of Women Voters, et al Selected Postings
“[...the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011] 'clearly, plainly and palpably violates the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.'--Reuters quoting court order--
UPDATED 01/18/2018 NYT, Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks North Carolina Gerrymandering Ruling (N.C.'s brazen legislature should redraw the unfair and asymmetric maps while it awaits the Supreme Court ruling.)  and Vox, How to Spot an Unconstitutionally Partisan Gerrymander, Explained and Economist, The Supreme Court Takes on Two Redistricting Cases from Texas (Perez v Perry) and  NYT, A Case for Math, Not ‘Gobbledygook,’ in Judging Partisan Voting Maps and Salon, Mr. Chief Justice, It’s Not “Gobbledygook”: New N.C. Ruling Shows How to Fix Gerrymandering

UPDATED 01/11/2018 News&Observer, NC Congressional Districts Struck Down as Unconstitutional Partisan Gerrymanders and  NYT, North Carolina Is Ordered To Redraw It Congressional Map and BrennanCenterLink2Opinion, League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho and Scribd, Common Cause Et Al v. Rucho Et Al and NYR, Will the Court Kill the Gerrymander?

The President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate seems unsure what to do about doing exactly what the district court has ordered...produce fair district maps by January 29, 2018!
"...No  later  than  5  p.m.  on  January  29,  2018, the  State  shall  file  with  the  Court any enacted proposed remedial plan, along with:..."
Significantly the court has ordered special masters for producing a remedial plan should North Carolina's Senator Philip E. Berger et al. be unable to do so.

Why would anyone think a politician asserting a right to entrench "their party" to disadvantage others could fail to produce a fair district map? Or a politician that asserts a right to pick their voters obviating a voter's constitutional right to pick their politicians!

UPDATED 01/04/2018 NYT, Two Ways of Looking at Gerrymandering and Governing, Redistricting Cases Could Redefine State and U.S. Politics in 2018

Protection from racial gerrymandering gets equal protection and partisan gerrymandering gets speech/association protection—really?

UPDATED 12/28/2017 WisContext, Gaps, Guardrails And The Fast-Advancing Math Of Partisan Gerrymandering and WP, The Supreme Court Gets a Second Chance to Quash Gerrymandering

UPDATED 12/09/2017 USAToday, Supreme Court to hear second case challenging election districts and NYT, Justices to Hear Second Partisan Gerrymandering Case and WP, Supreme Court will take up a second gerrymandering case this term
UPDATED 11/22/2017 Jurist, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orders Lower Court To Hear and Rule on Gerrymandering Case by End of Year and ConstitutionDaily, Pennsylvania Court Will Expedite Big Gerrymandering Case

State's high court  unpersuaded by arguments to stay the gerrymandering case League of Women Voters, et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. - 261 M.D. 2017 while the Supreme Court decides Gill v Whitford; orders lower court to hear and rule on League of Women Voters et al. before end of the year.

UPDATED 11/04/2017 FiveThirtyEight, The Supreme Court Is Allergic To Math and SciFri, Does Math Have A Place In The Courtroom?

UPDATED 11/02/2017 Quanta, The Math Behind Gerrymandering and Wasted Votes and Quanta, How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering
UPDATED 10/26/2017 NewYorker, Ginsburg Slaps Gorsuch in Gerrymandering Case and TuftNow, Rebooting the Mathematics Behind Gerrymandering

Understanding all possible district maps is an ongoing dynamic process mostly related to available computational power, which need not limit mandating fair maps today and fairer maps tomorrow!

UPDATED 10/14/2017 NYMag, Will Justice Kennedy Sink Partisan Gerrymandering — or Save It?

UPDATED 10/12/2017 NYT, How Computers Turned Gerrymandering Into a Science

It seem brazen, at best for partisan proponents of extreme gerrymandering to argue that state legislatures have need unconstrained power to engineer extreme partisan redistricting maps they publicly pretend are the result of chance.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Thank you, counsel.

MS. MURPHY: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: Plaintiffs have not identified a workable standard for determining when the inherently political task of districting becomes too political for the constitution to tolerate. Indeed, the only thing plaintiffs have added to the mix since LULAC is a wasted votes test that identifies court-drawn maps as enduring partisan gerrymanders and conveniently favors their own political party.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: You've probably considered the hypo many times. Suppose a state constitution or state statute says all districts shall be designed as closely as possible to conform with traditional principles, but the overriding concern is to increase -- have a maximum number of votes for party X or party Y. What result?

MS. MURPHY: I think if -- if you have something that says the ultimate principle that we're going to follow is abandon all other criteria in favor of partisan advantage, at least you're closer at that point -­

JUSTICE GINSBURG: I don't think -- I don't think that was the question. It was it satisfies all the traditional criteria, contiguous, but it was a deliberate attempt to maximize a number of seats that Republicans would hold.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: This is mandated by the state constitution.

MS. MURPHY: I don't think that in a world where the legislature is required to and is, in fact, complying with a number of other metrics and is as one of those things taking into account partisan advantage, that you've proven a constitutional violation.

JUSTICE ALITO: That's not a -- that's not a manageable standard. It's not a manageable standard that you cannot have a law that says draw maps to favor one party or the other.

MS. MURPHY: I think it's -­

JUSTICE ALITO: That seems like a perfectly manageable standard.

MS. MURPHY: If it's on -­

JUSTICE ALITO: You cannot have that.

MS. MURPHY: -- the face of the statute, I think you have a different scenario because at least at that point, you know the intent. You know there's no debate to have about the intent of what the legislature is doing and if they are intentionally drawing for one purpose or another.

JUSTICE KAGAN: But there are plenty areas of law, Ms. Murphy, where we look at intent beyond the face of a statute. And, you know, sometimes that's harder than other times. We understand it can be difficult. We understand in other cases it can be easy. But we do it all over the place in our law. We don't -- we don't say, oh, if it's not on the face of the statute, we're never going to look at it. So if your answer to Justice Alito is well on the face of the statute, that's certainly a manageable standard, I guess I would ask why not if it's not on the face of the statute? But you absolutely -- you know, but you have good evidence that there was the intent here, and you have good evidence that the intent led to a certain kind of effect, which was to entrench a party in power.

MS. MURPHY: I think what differentiates this from a lot of other contexts is that here we have opinion after opinion from this Court, dissenting opinions, concurring opinions, plurality opinions, what have you, saying that considering politics in districting is not in and of itself inherently unconstitutional.


MS. MURPHY: So just finding the intent isn't a problem.


JUSTICE GORSUCH: I'd like to go back to Justice Breyer's question, and it would be helpful to get an answer for me on that. What criteria would a state need to know in order to avoid having every district and every case and every election subject to litigation? Because the -- the standard that's given in -- in the lower court here was, well, a little bit of partisan symmetry problem, a little bit of an efficiency gap problem, not a real set of criteria. And here, you know, is it 7 percent, how durable, how many elections would we need? How much data would we have to gather? Walk us through Justice Breyer's question and provide some answers, if you -- if you would.

MS. MURPHY: Sure. So I think some of the problems with the criteria that have been suggested, in particular with the test that's focus on these symmetry metrics, is that so far the metrics that we have, I mean, they identify false positives roughly 50 percent of the time. And I don't know how a legislature is supposed to comply with criteria that can't differentiate between a court-drawn map and a map drawn for partisan advantage. So, when you start with the partisan symmetry concept, you automatically have the basic problem that you have to have some way to decide what is the appropriate partisan asymmetry.

JUSTICE GORSUCH: Okay. But what are the questions -- you know, I need two years or two cycles worth of data. I need an S curve of a certain shape and size. I need an efficiency gap of something. What are the numbers, what are the criteria we'd have to fill in as a constitutional matter in order for a state to be able to administer this?

† The author conducts sponsored conferences and workshops for Tufts, Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group, Geometry of Redistricting Summer School.

UPDATED 10/09/2017 Hoover, Gerrymandering at SCOTUS

It's unclear why the author would want to ever return to partisan gerrymandering once having left it? Partisan politicians capable of understanding, representing, and responding to a diverse cross-section of residents in our states is exactly what the nation is lacking and so desperately needs! Our Supreme Court routinely does optimization problems with multiple constraints.

Reducing partisan gerrymandering is a path of no return our Supreme Court and nation should not just happily travel, but sprint down!

UPDATED 10/04/2017 C-SPAN, Greg Stohr on Gerrymandering

UPDATED 10/03/2017 Reuters, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Divided in Major Voting Rights Case and Twitter, #FairMaps and ScotusBlog, Tuesday round-up and C-SPAN, Gill v. Whitford Oral Argument Reaction

Imagine our nation with a Supreme Court that is diffident, concerned, or anxious about constraining "raw assertions" of Machiavellian-like political power by our politicians or worse becomes a partisan in such assertions?

It's highly likely that Chief Justice John Marshall did not have in mind a manageability standard or plan to handle the hoped for centuries of litigation that would follow his Supreme Court decision in Marbury v Madison!

UPDATED 09/28/2017 AmerProspect, Slaying the Partisan Gerrymander  and Governing, Will the U.S. Supreme Court Take a Stand Against Partisan Gerrymandering?

It's not clear how an unbiased symmetric redistricting map threatens, even infinitesimally, any legitimate state interest? Our Constitution's 10 Amendment does not stand for the proposition that a state has a protected interest to do whatever its politicians can dream up and that special interest will fund†!

† Special interests view these "partisan-protected-seats" as a beneficial investments. Economists view them as harmful and inefficient rent-seeking, which in the case of redistricting can last 10 or more years! Our citizenry view them as unresponsive corruption, which harms our democracy. How will the justices on our United States Supreme Court view them from their "partisan-appointed-protected-seats"?

An interesting question, which the justices will not directly decide is: can a "partisan-appointed-protected-seat" turn into a "partisan-protected-seat"? If yes, how can that transformation be quantified and its chance reduced? Should it?

...don't forget to laugh...

UPDATED 09/21/2017 Reuters, Fight over electoral district boundaries heads to Supreme Court
UPDATED 09/16/2017 NYT, Splitting 5-4, Justices Put Texas Redistricting on Hold
UPDATED 09/01/2017 SPG, Fighting Gerrymandering with Blue Waters and Vox, The Algorithm That Could Help End Partisan Gerrymandering

Generating a very large population of random unbiased redistricting maps seems extraordinarily useful, with applications far beyond providing judges with a simple and accurate method for judging a proposed redistricting map's fairness (i.e. skewness or asymmetry). Hopefully, it's receiving the necessary funding and super computing (Blue Waters) time (processing nodes)?

"...if you look at the data in all U.S. House elections in the last say four decades the average re-election rate is in the mid 90s, so these elections are not competitive..." --Wendy K Tam Cho--
UPDATED 08/28/2017 USAToday, Political maps under fire as Supreme Court case on tailor-made districts looms and USC, 16-1161 GILL V. WHITFORD Oral Argument Scheduled for October 03, 2017 @ 10am

At least Pennsylvania's creative politicians used a seafood and steak house (Creeds) instead of the usual boring old uninhabited interstate highway to make sure the district is contiguous!

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 09/06/2017 GISGeography, The Ultimate GIS Dictionary
UPDATED 04/09/2018  Intercept, Countdown:How the Trump Administration Is Botching Its Only Trial Run for the 2020 Census and 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, and API Earth Engine


UPDATED 08/28/2017 Tuft's, Metric Geometry & Gerrymandering Group


UPDATED 08/28/2017 OhioStateUniversity, Moritz College of Law
UPDATED 08/28/2017 SCOTUSBlog, Gill v. Whitford


UPDATED 09/17/2019 NBER, Inversions in US Presidential Elections: 1836-2016; Michael Geruso, Dean Spears, and Ishaana Talesara NBER Working Paper No. 26247 September 2019

"...Our study is the first to estimate inversion probabilities and partisan asymmetry across the history of the US Electoral College..."

...tragically the Court has said it doesn't do partisan gerrymandering cases; but it does do counting, having reported that the justices exchange 36 handshakes (assumes all justices are present and shakes all other justices' hand) before each Friday conference and holding oral arguments...the number of justice handshakes in "gobbledygook"is..:

"...The more fundamental risk for Republicans is that voters are increasingly savvy about issues like gerrymandering, voting rights and campaign finance, which were once thought to be of great interest to elites but of little relevance to most citizens..."--NYT, With Power Grabs--

A formal redistricting framework must make sure ALL maps drawn as part of the iterative redistricting process are systematically preserved and open for publicly perusal.

UPDATED 03/03/2018 CBSPitts, Pa. Supreme Court's Congressional Redistricting Map Means Big Changes

If your dogma and extreme agenda requires you to win in a gerrymander district or to suppress voting and voters you might want to reconsider your dogma and extreme agenda or leave politics. If you're a "specialist" that helps politicians to gerrymander districts or suppress voting and voters get a new specialty.

UPDATED 03/01/2018 Vox, How Pennsylvania Rigged Its Electoral Map

UPDATED 02/20/2018 Wired, The Geeks Who Put a Stop to Pennsylvania's Partisan Gerrymandering and WP, New Pennsylvania Congressional Map Erases 1,100 Miles of District Borders and Reuters, Republicans Will Sue to Block Court-drawn Pennsylvania Congressional Map

...can't wait to hear Pennsylvania's lawyers tell our Supreme Court it must protect the unconstitutional process of allowing our politicians to pick their voters instead of protecting our voters' constitutional right to pick their politicians!...

...or that they need more time to produce more skewed congressional district map so they can use their really screwed skewed map for the upcoming May 2018 election!...

UPDATED 02/15/2018 ConstitutionDaily, Governor Rejects New Pennsylvania Voting Map (no approved map, no problem; just use the court approved special master's map)  and KHYY, GRAPHIC: Pa. Republican Leaders Propose New Congressional Map on Eve of Deadline and WP, GOP Leaders Unveil Revamped Pennsylvania Congressional Map and NYT, The Great Republican Power Grab and WP, Pennsylvania Has to Draw New Congressional Districts, but Getting Rid of Gerrymandering Will Be Harder Than You Think

UPDATED 02/08/2018 NYT, Eric Holder’s Group Targets All-G.O.P. States to Attack Gerrymandering
UPDATED 02/05/2018 Yes, Inside the Move to End Gerrymandering
UPDATED 12/14/2017 American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Redistricting and Representation

(see also, Arxiv, Evaluating Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin, Gregory Herschlag, Robert Ravier, Jonathan C. Mattingly pdf)
UPDATED 08/28/2017 NewYorker, A Summer School for Mathematicians Fed Up with Gerrymandering and Wired, What I Learned at Gerrymandering Summer Camp and WP, The U.S. Could Be Free of Gerrymandering: Here’s How Other Countries Do Redistricting

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 08/28/2017 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 03/11/2018 BrennanCenter, Extreme Maps and BrennanCenter, Partisan Gerrymandering
UPDATED 08/30/2017 DukeUniv, Quantifying Gerrymandering
UPDATED 07/17/2017 JoweiChenThe Impact of Political Geography on Wisconsin Redistricting: An Analysis of Wisconsin’s Act 43 Assembly Districting Plan
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:

...under budgeting produces inaccurate counts of all our population...
"...At this stage in the life cycle of a decennial census, the Census Bureau would ordinarily be focused on fine-tuning systems and operations and not on making significant changes to its plans. The Task Force concluded that the DOC’s recent decision to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 census is inconsistent with the “proper performance of the functions” of the Census Bureau, which was one of the areas where the DOC requested public comments..."--Letter Report on the 2020 Census--


1. UPDATED 09/26/2017 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 

Explore Gerrymandering in Your State Using Princeton Gerrymandering Project Tool and Info

2. A disobedient vassal is dissiesined from their "safe-seat" (fiefdom) when the overlords choose another perceived obedient vassal for a "primary challenge" against the disobedient vassal. Repossession and reconveyance of the "safe-seat" (fiefdom) by the overlords is known as "getting primaried".

Using the electoral process to make sure an obedient vassal perpetually occupies a "safe-seat" transforms "one-person-one-vote into one-vassal-no-vote and undermines a "representative democracy".

3. Our nation's current schism is likely more dangerous and detrimental than extreme partisanship would imply? Think of Carl Schmitt's "friend-enemy" distinction.

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