Is the Democratic legislative redistricting just "politics" or is it unconstitutional?

Undoubtedly, the legislative redistricting map is as partisan as anything we've ever seen. It is an irrational jumble of districts of curious sizes and shapes--until it is explained that the map is designed to favor Democrats. Just more "politics as usual," we told.

That apparently is the thought of Kent Redfield, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Commenting on a lawsuit just filed by Republicans challenging the redistricting as illegal and unconstitutional, Redfield told Illinois Statehouse News that the suit raises serious issues. But, he implies, Republicans are doing it because they want a more favorable map.

Perhaps so. But, you can't just call the issues raised by the lawsuit "serious," and then rush off to focus on the obvious political motivations. On its face, the map violates constitutional requires that districts by compact and contiguous. And it also violates the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 by effectively reducing minority representation.

Details are in Illinois Statehouse News.

Comments

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  • You know that again I am going to say that instead of quoting some professor, find a legal source.

    First, to avoid a misconception I had, this suit deals only with the state legislature, not the congressional remap which was much more egregious.

    However, since it is a federal suit, the state constitutional requirement of compact and contiguous districts (Art IV sec. 3) does not come within a federal court's jurisdiction, unless it is supplementary to some federal claim. Note that the Republicans did not try to find a state judge friendly to that state claim.

    Hence, the only federal claims are under the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment. If, as the professor indicates, the Republicans' interest is solely in geographic politics, and they haven't had the minority groups join in the Voting Rights Act claim (i.e. some Hispanic aggrieved by being placed in a Black district), they don't have the makings of a successful federal case. Certainly, the court is not going to be concerned with politicians' equal protection rights; just voters'.

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