Redistricting Won’t Hurt GOP Chances at Keeping the House, Experts Say

US Capitol building

Changes in congressional district boundary lines across several states do not appear to have damaged Republicans’ chances of maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives after 2024’s elections, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and New York have experienced redistricting processes ahead of the 2024 election. While experts had previously forecast adverse changes from redistricting in these states that could have cost GOP incumbents their seats, the processes have resulted, on balance, in races where likely losses of some GOP seats could be offset by the gains in other states, experts told the DCNF.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Orders Redrawing of State Legislative Maps

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday rejected the Republican-drawn legislative district maps and demanded that the creation of new electoral lines ahead of the 2024 contests.

The left-leaning court ruled 4-3 in ordering the new maps, which Democrats had sought to overturn over claims of gerrymandering, according to the Associated Press. The maps included non-contiguous districts.

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Upcoming Supreme Court Elections in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan Could Tip Majorities on the Bench Just in Time for the 2024 Elections

Three swing states will hold elections to their supreme courts over the next 18 months, potentially altering court compositions amid key cultural and political flashpoints such as abortion, guns and redistricting.

Between 2023 and 2024, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan will hold elections for several seats on their supreme courts, which have the final word on matters of state law regarding abortion and gerrymandering, among others. These seats are likely to be highly contested as partisan groups seek to bring litigation to change the law on these issues, political strategists and academics told the DCNF.

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Supreme Court Unveils the First Cases It Will Hear Next Term

The Supreme Court released its oral arguments schedule for October on Friday, which features the first six cases it will hear for its 2023-2024 term.

The Court will hear a major constitutional challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) funding mechanism, an Americans with Disabilities Act “tester” lawsuit against a hotel and a racial gerrymandering case from South Carolina. Oral arguments are set to begin on October 2.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Leaves New Democrat-Favored State House Map in Place

Kerry Benninghoff

Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives were dealt an expected blow this week as the state Supreme Court unanimously declined to overturn a new state-House-district map.

Every ten years, Pennsylvania’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC) must redraw the state’s 203 state legislative districts and 50 state senatorial districts to cohere with new population data reported by the U.S. Census. The five-member LRC is composed of the respective Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate as well as a chair appointment by the state Supreme Court. In the latest round of redistricting, Democrats effectively controlled the LRC, as the majority of justices on the court selected fellow Democrat Mark A. Nordenberg. 

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Picks Democrat-Favored Congressional Map

Democrats celebrated and Republicans demurred Wednesday after the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court selected the state’s new congressional map.

In so doing, the court overturned a decision earlier this month by Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia A. McCullough (R) to allow implementation of a redistricting plan passed by the GOP-led General Assembly but vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf (D). The initial version of the legislature-approved map was drawn by a private citizen, Amanda Holt of Lehigh County, though legislators modified her plan somewhat.

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Ohio Supreme Court Gives Redistricting Commission Deadline to Show Cause

The Ohio Supreme Court has given the Ohio Redistricting Commission until noon Wednesday to show cause why it should not be held in contempt of court for failing to meet a deadline for new state legislative maps.

The commission missed an 11:59 p.m. Feb. 17 court-ordered deadline to submit a third set of maps after the court ruled the first two were unfairly gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Considers Congressional Maps, Asked to Consider State-House Districts as Well

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, deliberating over oral arguments made last Friday, will soon decide the congressional-district boundaries that apply in next year’s elections.

State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) has meanwhile asked the court to strike down a newly enacted map containing districts for his own legislative chamber.

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Commonwealth Court Judge Chooses Citizen-Drawn Congressional Map Favored by GOP Legislature

Pennsylvania Capitol Building

Because Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor and GOP-controlled legislature couldn’t agree on a congressional redistricting plan, a Commonwealth Court judge has stepped in and chosen one favored by the latter.

Judge Patricia A. McCullough (R), who was charged individually with selecting a new congressional map from among several proposed by state officials and nongovernmental actors, issued a 228-page report explaining her decision.

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Gov. Wolf Vetoes Pennsylvania Congressional Map

On Thursday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed a proposed new congressional-district map passed by the Republican-run state legislature.

The governor’s decision effectively turns over the selection of a new map to the state judiciary. The Republican-run Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has indicated it would intervene if Wolf and lawmakers failed to agree on how the new districts will be reshaped. But even if that court chooses the reapportionment plan passed by the General Assembly, Wolf’s party may ultimately get its way by appealing to the Democrat-controlled state Supreme Court.

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Opposition to Pennsylvania State House Map Getting Voluble, and Not Just Among Republicans

Pennsylvania Capitol Building

Across the Keystone State, more and more observers are raising concerns about the proposed district map for state representatives.

The redistricting plan, crafted by a majority-Democrat Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC), has received reproach for unduly advantaging Democratic candidates, lacking competitiveness and diluting minority-voter strength. The period during which the LRC is hearing public comments on the map continues until next Tuesday, Jan. 18.

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Pennsylvania House Republicans to Hold Field Hearings on What They Deem Gerrymandered Districts

Pennsylvania House GOP leaders announced this week that their caucus will hold field hearings on the proposed new legislative-district plan which stands to make House districts more winnable for Democrats. 

The first House GOP Policy Committee hearing on the commission’s plan will take place on Tues., Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. at McCandless Town Hall at 9955 Grubbs Road in Wexford. The second will occur on Tues., Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Upper Allen Township Building at 100 Gettysburg Pike in Mechanicsburg.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Backs Republican-Drawn, ‘Least-Change’ Map

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has indicated it will not make many changes to the political map drawn by Republicans.

The court ruled 4-3 on Tuesday that it is going with the “least-change approach” to the state’s new political map.

“We have the power to provide a judicial remedy but not to legislate,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority. “We have no authority to act as a ‘super-legislature’ by inserting ourselves into the actual lawmaking function.”

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Wisconsin Gov. Evers Vetoes Republican-Drawn Redistricting Maps

Tony Evers

The fight over Wisconsin’s next political map took its next step toward a courtroom Thursday.

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the new maps drawn by Republican lawmakers.

“What’s sitting in front of me here are gerrymandered maps modeled after the same gerrymandered maps we’ve had for a decade,” Evers said in a video message. “They were sent to my desk over the objections of a decade’s worth of people in this state demanding better, demanding more, and demanding a fair, nonpartisan process for preparing our maps for the next 10 years.”

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Sumner County Using Redistricting to Make Unprecedented Changes to County Commission Structure

Sumner County schools virtual meeting

The Sumner County Board of Commissioners is using redistricting required every 10 years following completion of the U.S. census in 2020 to potentially make significant and unprecedented changes to the county commission districts.

Sumner County currently has 12 county commission districts with two commissioners per district, but redistricting has opened the door to making 24 districts with one commissioner per district.

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This Fall and Winter, Redistricting Will Occupy Minds of Tennessee Politicians and Activists on the State and Local Levels

Tennessee State Capitol at night in winter

After the finalization of the U.S. Census every ten years, state and local governments set about redrawing their lawmakers’ and school directors’ district lines.

Throughout this fall and winter, legislators across the state will toil over this process sure to directly impact many of their futures. Although political considerations inevitably loom large in redistricting, the proceedings are theoretically intended to make districts as compact and contiguous as possible—i.e. to ensure that they don’t look like irregular puzzle pieces.

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‘Voters Not Politicians,’ Which Rebuked Michigan Redistricting Commission for Hiring Republican Firm, Has Its Own Partisan Ties

The nonprofit Voters Not Politicians (VNP) has stridently criticized the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) for hiring a GOP-aligned law firm, but VNP’s own leftist agenda and political ties are getting little media attention.

The Lansing-based “nonpartisan” organization spearheaded the Proposal 2 referendum which created the MICRC to oversee legislative and congressional redistricting free of gerrymandering. 

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Analysis: Nine Things You Should Know About Ranked-Choice Voting

Proponents of overhauling elections to allow voters to have a backup plan if their candidate doesn’t win went 1-1 at the state level in the 2020 election, but are looking to change how elections work in other states. 

More than 30 bills on ranked-choice voting have been proposed in state legislatures across the country, according to Fair Vote, the nonprofit group that is promoting the system nationally. 

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Retired Judges Select Eight Citizens to Serve on Virginia Redistricting Commission

A selection committee of five retired judges on Wednesday chose the eight citizens who will serve on the Virginia Redistricting Commission, completing the membership determination process for the newly-implemented body tasked with proposing plans for redrawing the Commonwealth’s 111 congressional and legislative districts.

The judges met for several hours on Wednesday morning and had to come up with the eight names from a pool of 62 finalists.

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Virginians to Decide Gerrymandering Amendment

An anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment that would change the way legislative districts are drawn in Virginia will be decided on the ballot.

The amendment is intended to prevent gerrymandering by establishing a 16-person bipartisan redistricting commission that would propose redistricting plans to the General Assembly. The General Assembly would be allowed to approve or decline the proposals, but would not be allowed to offer any amendments.

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Lawsuit Filed Over Ballot Language in Ongoing Battle Over Amendment 1 Redistricting

Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidate Paul Goldman filed a lawsuit Thursday against the State Board of Elections in the ongoing controversy over Amendment 1 redistricting. The suit says that the ballot question on the amendment uses misleading language to unfairly skew voter perception.

Goldman says people will assume they have a fair summary before them. However, he argues this is not the case.

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Supreme Court Rules Judges Can’t Block Partisan Gerrymandering

by Tyler Arnold   A narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that federal judges have no authority to block politically gerrymandered maps. The 5-4 decision fell along ideological lines with the five conservative judges signing onto the decision and the liberal judges dissenting. “We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion. “Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions.” Roberts said that the court has been asked to overturn politically gerrymandered lines for the past 45 years, but that it has never done so. If the court made decisions on whether maps were gerrymandered to favor a specific party, he said that judicial reviews would recur with every new round of redistricting. “That intervention would be unlimited in scope and duration,” Roberts said. He said it would be “an unprecedented expansion of judicial power.” Roberts emphasized that the Court is not condoning politically gerrymandered maps, but that the issue can be resolved by state courts enforcing state laws…

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Supreme Court Blocks Order Requiring Republicans to Redraw District Lines in Ohio and Michigan

by Kevin Daley   The Supreme Court temporarily blocked two decisions Friday requiring Republican-controlled legislatures in Michigan and Ohio to produce new legislative district lines ahead of the 2020 election. There were no noted dissents from the Friday orders. The decision was not surprising, as the justices are currently deciding whether federal courts should even hear partisan gerrymandering disputes. Three-judge panels in both cases said the current district lines are unconstitutionally rigged to the benefit of Republicans. The GOP has strong majorities in the congressional delegations of Michigan and Ohio, though Democrats and Republicans run competitively in both states. Each decision set fast-moving schedules for the state legislatures — the Michigan ruling gave the state until Aug. 1 to draw new lines, while the Ohio decision required a remedial plan by June 14. Friday’s order from the high court means that neither state will have to create new district maps in the short-term. The justices heard arguments in March over Republican gerrymanders in North Carolina and a Democratic one in Maryland. Both cases ask whether and how federal courts can resolve controversies over partisan redistricting. Since the Michigan and Ohio appeals will turn on the outcome of the Maryland and…

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Michigan, Ohio Republicans Ask Supremes to Put Gerrymandering Rulings on Hold

by Kevin Daley   Republican lawmakers in Michigan and Ohio asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block lower court decisions ordering them to produce new district lines for their congressional and state legislative maps. Separate three-judge panels found the Michigan and Ohio maps were rigged to favor of Republicans, in violation of the Constitution. Both applications were presented to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who reviews emergency applications arising from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Michigan and Ohio. Sotomayor may ask both sides to submit further briefs, refer the matters to the full Court for consideration, or both. The applications come as the Supreme Court is considering related challenges from Maryland and North Carolina, which ask whether and how federal courts should police partisan gerrymandering. Decisions in those cases will bear directly on the Michigan and Ohio disputes, since all four matters present similar issues. In the Ohio case, the lower court ordered the state to produce a new map by June 14. There is a good chance the Maryland and North Carolina disputes will not be decided at that time. Ohio Republicans said that could cause ordinary people to conclude that the lower court is trying to impose a new map on…

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New Gerrymandering Ruling Will Have Big Effects for GOP in 2020

by Kevin Daley   A federal three-judge panel ruled Thursday that 34 state and federal district lines in Michigan are unconstitutionally gerrymandered to the benefit of Republicans. The decision comes as the Supreme Court contemplates a pair of cases from Maryland and North Carolina, which ask whether and how the federal courts should police partisan line-drawing. “Federal courts must not abdicate their responsibility to protect American voters from this unconstitutional and pernicious practice that undermines our democracy,” the decision reads. “Federal courts’ failure to protect marginalized voters’ constitutional rights will only increase the citizenry’s growing disenchantment with, and disillusionment in, our democracy, further weaken our democratic institutions, and threaten the credibility of the judicial branch.” Judge Eric Clay of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting on the panel by designation, authored the ruling. The Supreme Court has never definitively said that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, nor has it given lower courts guidance for which district lines are excessively partisan, and therefore unlawful. The Maryland and North Carolina cases present the latest — and some the last — opportunity for the courts to bring gerrymanders to heel. Fully aware that their ruling will turn on the Supreme Court’s forthcoming…

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Supreme Court Hears Gerrymandering Case That Could Extensively Redraw the Ohio Electoral Map

The United States Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments Tuesday on a pair of cases that could lead to the Ohio electoral map being completely redrawn. The two cases, Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisekm, could both set precedents that could supersede a similar Ohio case making its way to the Supreme Court. On August 5, 2016, Common Cause, the North Carolina Democratic Party, and a group of voters filed a complaint against Robert A. Rucho “in his official capacity as Chairman of the North Carolina Senate Redistricting Committee,” and several other key members who presided over the drawing of the 2016 North Carolina congressional map. The complaint alleged that the map is an: unconstitutional partisan gerrymander that violates the First Amendment (Count I), the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Count II), and Article I, section 2 of the Constitution of the United States (Count III), and also to declare that in adopting the 2016 Plan the legislature exceeded the authority granted by Article I, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that state legislatures “determine the times, places and manner of election” of members of the U.S. House of Representatives (Count IV). They also alleged that Democratic votes…

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Ohio Republicans Fight for Current Congressional Map

A week into a trial that will determine if the Ohio congressional districts will be redrawn before the 2020 presidential election,  Ohio Republicans have the opportunity to defend their map. Monday, attorneys representing the Ohio Republicans began calling witnesses to testify that the current congressional map of Ohio was made in good faith and was not gerrymandered. The case, Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute v. Householder was filed on May 23rd, 2018. Per the Brennan Center: The Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and a group of Ohio residents filed suit contenting Ohio’s 2011 congressional map is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander that violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment and Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs argue the map was intentionally designed to give Republicans an 12-4 advantage and entrench their power over the course of the decade. This skewed partisan advantage, the suit argues, prevents large segments of Ohio’s voters from having their votes meaningfully reflected in their congressional delegation. In the suit, the referred to the current map as “the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history.” The current district map was drawn by the Republican party in 2011, the majority party at the…

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Ohio Secretary of State: Redistricting Ohio Before 2020 Election Could ‘Hurt’ Voter Turnout

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose stated on Thursday that he was against Ohio redrawing its district lines before the 2020 presidential election. It was a statement that surprised many, considering he made it at a voting rights forum, hosted by the Ohio League of Women Voters who are currently suing Ohio in the hope of having the state lines redrawn. As reported earlier, in May of 2018, several groups, led by the Ohio League of Women Voters formally filed suit against the Buckeye State, specifically noting; an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander that violates the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article I of the United States Constitution….the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history. In his last days as Attorney General, Mike DeWine, who is currently serving as Ohio’s Governor, attempted to have the suit thrown out. The current Attorney General, Dave Yost, is now arguing to have the case delayed. The most effective argument made for the delay has been the United States Supreme Court’s January 4th announcement that it will hear two gerrymandering cases jointly, one from North Carolina and the other from Maryland. Any ruling made in this case would take precedence over the Ohio court’s decision. Last week, a similar gerrymandering case in…

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In Final Days as Attorney General, DeWine Files Motion to Dismiss Ohio Redistricting Lawsuit

Gov.-elect Mike DeWine (R-OH) appears to be making every last day of his tenure as Attorney General count. This week, DeWine filed a motion to have an upcoming gerrymandering lawsuit tossed out. The suit would mandate the redrawing of all of Ohio’s 16 congressional districts before the 2020 election. In May of 2018, a group of plaintiffs, including one Democratic constituent from all 16 districts, filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the current congressional districts were: an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander that violates the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article I of the United States Constitution….the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history. The primary force behind the legal challenge is the Ohio League of Women Voters. Should the suit be successful, the state would be required to redraw the congressional districts before the 2020 election with new procedures that would be a radical departure from the current standard. DeWine seeks to have the suit thrown out on the grounds that the plaintiffs cannot prove harm and that there is no legal standing for the case. In May, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to reform the current system of redistricting. Traditionally, following each census, the party in power would control the redistricting process. Issue 1 will…

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Supreme Court Lets Contested District Maps In Texas, NC Remain In Effect

SCOTUS, North Carolina, Texas

by Kevin Daley   The U.S. Supreme Court Monday cleared the way for Texas and North Carolina to use a set of contested legislative district lines, declining to side with plaintiffs who alleged the maps were gerrymandered for partisan or racial advantage. The decisions come one week after the high court sidestepped sweeping rulings in landmark challenges to political gerrymanders. The North Carolina case, Rucho v. Common Cause, involved a challenge to the state’s congressional district map. The current lines afford Republicans a 10-3 advantage in North Carolina’s congressional delegation, although the state has adopted a moderate political character in recent election cycles. As in other gerrymandering cases, mapmakers brazenly acknowledged the partisan interests driving the process. “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,” said North Carolina Republican Rep. David Lewis, who chairs the state legislature’s redistricting committee. “So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.” A three-judge district court said the map was unconstitutional and ordered the state to produce new maps in time for the 2018 elections, but the justices placed that order on hold in January. Monday’s order lifted the three-judge panel’s ruling, and required the lower court to…

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