The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement announcing the filing of an amicus brief with the American Civil Rights Union in support of Wisconsin’s redistricting maps currently challenged along partisan lines (Gill v. Whitford 16-1161).
“Allowing redistricting maps to be blocked for purely partisan reasons is a dangerous precedent that irrevocably invites federal authorities to intrude on states’ constitutional powers,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Partisan gerrymandering claims are yet another toehold for those seeking to weaken state powers.”
The brief challenges the federal district court’s finding that the 2011 redistricting map was unconstitutional.
“The lower court invited unlimited federal intrusion into a core Constitutional power granted to the States without Congress expressly permitting the intrusion,” the brief argues.
Below is a summary of observations made in opposition to the partisan gerrymandering claims made against Wisconsin.
Court precedents on the responsibilities of redistricting are clear. Except in cases where a redistricting plan targets a “racial minority for special discriminatory treatment”, states are constitutionally charged designing political jurisdiction. The brief echoes Chapman v. Meier: “We say once again that has been said on many occasions: reapportionment is primarily the duty and responsibility of the State through its legislature or other body, rather than of a federal court.”
Partisan gerrymandering claims upset the federalist balance of power. “The [lower court] based its admittedly novel conclusion not on a finding of discrimination abhorrent to deeply rooted constitutional principles but on the finding that the drafters of the plan intended ‘to entrench the Republican Party in power.’ Such a finding, built on a shaky foundation, at best, upsets the delicate balance of power,” the brief notes.
A copy of the brief, submitted on August 4, 2017 has been made available, here.