Wednesday, June 28, 2006

U.S. Supreme Court Opens Floodgates to Partisan Gerrymandering

WASHINGTON - June 28 - “The U.S. Supreme Court decision today in the case LULAC v. Perry sets the stage for more partisanship, more divisiveness and less competition in elections,” said Mary G. Wilson, president of the League of Women Voters.

“The Court’s decision opens the floodgates for a new round of partisan gerrymandering in the states,” said Wilson. “We now can expect an even more vicious battle between the political parties as they redraw district lines every two years for partisan gain,” said Wilson.

The League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of Texas filed an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court” brief in LULAC v. Perry that argued the Texas legislature’s mid-census redistricting was unconstitutional because it was carried out solely to achieve partisan advantage. Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R TX) pushed for the mid-term redistricting to solidify his party’s hold on the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Tom DeLay showed the way, and the Supreme Court said okay,” said Wilson.

“The Court did protect the voting rights of racial and ethic minorities, and that is a good thing,” said Wilson. But, with this decision the Court has “allowed discrimination against political minorities, be they Democrats, Republicans or independents, and voters are now at risk in every state,” according to the League’s president.

“Every voter deserves the basic constitutional right to fair elections and equal protection guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution. The Supreme Court did not take this opportunity to provide those rights to political minorities by preventing excessive political gerrymandering. That is extremely disappointing,” Wilson stated.

“Leagues have worked vigorously across the country to secure representative redistricting plans in their states after each census. We now must work even harder to get reforms that will assure the redistricting process is nonpartisan, equitable and open. Our job got a bit more difficult today because we didn’t get the help we needed from the Supreme Court in protecting every voter’s right to fair elections,” Wilson said.


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