Firm News

Partisan Gerrymandering – Analysis of Politically Drafted Plan Takes Center Stage

Earlier this summer, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Gill v. Whitford, a challenge to the Wisconsin legislative redistricting plans. A divided three-judge panel held the Wisconsin plan was a result of partisan gerrymandering which was a violation of the Constitution’s 1st amendment.

The Supreme Court has not ruled on a partisan gerrymandering case since 2004 due to the difficulty of demonstrating statistically how a plan was gerrymandered solely on partisan politics.  In Whitford, the Plaintiffs utilized a mathematical analysis that created “an efficiency gap” to analyze the districts.  Nicholas Stephanopoulos, an attorney inn Whitford, wrote an article recently concluding that the quantitative measurement seen in “the efficiency gap” is not the real story; rather, it was the three-judge panel’s decision to use the “efficiency gap” to analyze the plan.[1]  Stephanopoulos argues, “it’s not the metric that’s unique; it’s how it’s being put to use.”

Now that the Supreme Court has jumped head-first into the world of redistricting challenges based on partisan gerrymandering, stay tuned to see how, if at all, the Court plans to use the statistical analysis.  The Supreme Court’s decision will have huge political ramifications.

Read the article here.

[1] The Research that convinced SCOTUS to take the Wisconsin gerrymandering plan, explained, was written by Nicholas Stephanopoulos.  Stephanopoulos is an attorney for the plaintiffs in Gill v. Whitford, and is a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School.