Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NPR: Could Supreme Court Decision Lead To Death Of The Gerrymander? - Updated

Sounds like we need to add Utah to the list of states pushing for an independent redistricting commission, with or without a citizens initiative, no?

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Here's another interesting story for US Supreme Court watchers, via National Public Radio (NPR):
The Supreme Court's decision on Monday to uphold the constitutionality of Arizona's independent redistricting commission has some hoping their model could now pave the way for other states to adopt a less partisan way of drawing congressional lines.
"There are a lot of efforts around the country to try and get commissions enacted, and now I think those efforts are going to go full-steam ahead," said Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a law professor at the University of Chicago who studies elections and redistricting. "Now that the Constitution has been cleaned up, the green light is definitely visible through this."
So far, two states — Arizona and California — have adopted the independent commissions, each created by voter referendum. Had the court ruled against the legality of those bodies, it could have affected as many as one-third of congressional districts — spurring not just a redrawing of lines there but also impacting other states that have commissions involved in some capacity.
The court's decision gave hope to gerrymandering opponents, who have long advocated for better ways to draw boundaries than by those who would benefit the most from them. (Here's a brief history of "gerrymandering" and how it got the name.)
"Now with California and Arizona on safe constitutional ground, maybe other states will look to them as a model," said Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily, who filed an amicus brief in the case.
Read up folks:
In light of this latest SCOTUS decision, Utah is one of the states which could benefit from taking a fresh look at the manner in which Utah legislative districts are drawn, or so it seems to us:
Sounds like we need to add Utah to the list of states pushing for an independent redistricting commission, with or without a citizens initiative, no?.

Update 7/1/15 10:29 a.m.: A couple of impressive followup pieces, via the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," says the Trib editorial board.

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