Illinoisans should pay attention to how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a case challenging how Wisconsin Republicans gerrymandered legislative districts in their favor. While it would be a setback for Wisconsin Republicans it could also be a setback for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and the Democrats who have benefited from his gerrymandering of Illinois House districts.
The Wisconsin case, to be heard in the fall, challenges how the Republican-controlled
legislature drew its districts to benefit the GOP. In Illinois, Madigan’s control for years of the redistricting process has resulted in cockeyed districts that favor Democrats, especially incumbents, a violation in my opinion of the U.S. and Illinois constitutions. The process has made a mockery of those documents’ requirement that legislative districts must be “compact” and “contiguous.” Instead, many districts snake around in contorted shapes that are anything but compact and contiguous.
Here’s a great analysis from the Decator Heard and Review laying out how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision could affect Illinois’ redistricting process.
Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law, told CNN that this case could have “enormous ramifications.”
“Although a majority of the court has suggested that states can violate the Constitution if they draw legislative districts primarily to benefit one political party, the justices have never been able to identify the specific point at which states cross the constitutional line. In this case, a lower court held that Wisconsin had indeed crossed that line,” he told CNN.