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SCOTUS rules gerrymandering work around okay
The classic "gerrymandered" county - cartoon 1812.


In the case of ARIZONA STATE LEGISLATURE, APPELLANT v. ARIZONA INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING
COMMISSION ET AL., Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg writing a 5-4 decision found that the people of Arizona had a right to give legislative redistricting to an independent commission - taking it out of the hands of state legislature. The case came to the Supreme Court by challenge by the Republican controlled legislature.

The practice known as "gerrymandering" has been practiced in the US since the ink on the Constitution dried. Named after Massachusetts Governor Eldridge Gerry. According to Wikipedia, the cartoon at right was "Printed in March 1812, this political cartoon was drawn in reaction to the newly drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. The caricature satirizes the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts, as a dragon-like "monster." Federalist newspaper editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry's last name.(See map)"

In the synopsis of the Court's opinion, Ginsberg said:

"The Elections Clause permits the people of Arizona to provide for redistricting by independent commission. The history and purpose of the Clause weigh heavily against precluding the people of Arizona from creating a commission operating independently of the state legislature to establish congressional districts. Such preclusion would also run up against the Constitution's animating principle that the people themselves are the originating source of all the powers of government. "

The clause was meant to keep federal meddling out of state politics - not to keep the people out of the process.

"The Framers may not have imagined the modern initiative process in which the people's legislative power is coextensive with the state legislature's authority, but the invention of the initiative was in full harmony with the Constitution's conception of the people as the font of governmental power. It would thus be perverse to interpret "Legislature" in the Elections Clause to exclude lawmaking by the people, particularly when such lawmaking is intended to advance the prospect that Members of Congress will in fact be "chosen . . . by the People of the several States," Art. I, §2. Pp. 30-33.

Banning lawmaking by initiative to direct a State's method of apportioning congressional districts would not just stymie attempts to curb gerrymandering. It would also cast doubt on numerous other time, place, and manner regulations governing federal elections that States have adopted by the initiative method. As well, it could endanger election provisions in state constitutions adopted by conventions and ratified by voters at the ballot box, without involvement or approval by "the Legislature."

Kentucky does not have an independent commission to draw legislative boundaries. If one looks at the present congressional districts, they bear more resemblance to Governor Gerry's Essex County than to a logical, geographical division.

The next division takes place after the 2020 census - time enough for an independent commission to be set up.


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