McCain, Whitehouse urge SCOTUS to affirm Wisconsin gerrymandering decision

McCain, Whitehouse urge SCOTUS to affirm Wisconsin gerrymandering decision

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainObama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (R-Ariz.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate panel advances Trump IRS nominee Senate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Who is Andrew Wheeler, EPA's new acting chief? MORE (D-R.I.) are calling on the Supreme Court to affirm a lower court's ruling striking down Wisconsin's state legislature redistricting map as unconstitutional.

In an amicus brief filed in Gill v. Whitford on Tuesday, McCain and Whitehouse argue that the redistricting map is the result of excessive partisan redistricting.

“Americans do not like gerrymandering,” McCain and Whitehouse wrote in the brief, first highlighted by The Huffington Post. “They see its mischief, and absent a legal remedy, their sense of powerlessness and discouragement has increased, deepening the crisis of confidence in our democracy."

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"We share this perspective," they continued. "From our vantage point, we see wasted votes and silenced voices. We see hidden power. And we see a correctable problem.”

A lower federal court ruled last year that the Wisconsin map violated the 14th Amendment's guarantee to equal protection under the law, as well as the First Amendment's Freedom of Association protections. 

The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether redistricting maps for partisan gain can be unconstitutional. The Gill v. Whitford case, which is set to go before the Supreme Court on Oct. 3, could define just how far state legislatures can go in drawing district lines that favor one party over another.

State legislatures redraw districts every 10 years. But often those districts are laid out in a way that is intended to benefit the party in power by grouping certain voters into districts that may be more likely to choose representatives from one party or the other.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down two congressional districts in North Carolina, which the court said relied too heavily on race to draw their boundaries.