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Pennsylvania's oddly shaped 7th District is often cited as an extreme example of gerrymandering

Pennsylvania's oddly shaped 7th District is often cited as an extreme example of gerrymandering

In a well-functioning democratic republic, each vote must be counted and also needs to have a chance of counting.

The US Supreme Court [official website] heard [argument calendar] oral arguments for two cases Wednesday.

The court is considering if it is appropriate for the judiciary to step in and strike down electoral maps that go so far to benefit one party that they violate the Constitution.

"The congressional map itself, the shape of the districts, the freaky shapes of the districts, which can't be explained by any non-partisan kind of reasoning, that's going to be a very telling fact in this case", Gersch said.

Anne Arundel County voters are among the biggest victims of the decision by the Democrats who controlled the state's line-drawing to not just slice up the jurisdiction into four of Maryland's eight congressional districts but to turn the 3rd District, which now includes Annapolis, into a meandering, peninsula-hopping monstrosity that has drawn national derision. She says because the case was brought under the state constitution nothing that happens in the Supreme Court will stop the case from moving forward.

Gerrymandering has been part of American politics since the earliest days.

How has that worked out in Wisconsin?

The lower court concluded that the districting plans were drawn to discriminate against Democrats, the Republicans' advantage would endure even in the face of a strong Democratic showing at the polls and the plans could not be explained by other, non-partisan reasons.

In recent years, as computer technology has enabled parties to draw lines more precisely to maximize their advantage, discontent with the practice has increased. As a result, the party favored by a minority of voters can attain and hold a permanent majority.

Attorneys for the Pennsylvania General Assembly declined to comment but argued to the judge a decision shouldn't be made until the U.S. Supreme court reaches a verdict of a similar case in Wisconsin.

Kennedy, predictably, did not tip his hand, but he did leave some clues. He wrote in 2004 that he had yet to be shown a good way to measure and manage excessively partisan districts. It's a functional equivalent of paying off the referees before the game.

"If the remedy was to redraw district lines, that would have to happen very, very quickly because that takes time and that's one of the issues - one of the things the court will have to sort out is what they think the proper remedy is", Freitag said.

"We will have to decide in every case whether the Democrats win or the Republicans win, " Roberts said.

In Pennsylvania, plaintiffs are asking the state court to declare the 2011 Congressional map unconstitutional, halt its use in future congressional elections and order the creation of new maps.

"I used to be invited to [parties] where [I] don't know the host", Justice Elena Kagan said.

Over the years, the people's confidence hasn't exactly been growing. When the court ultimately did get involved and establish it could have a say in political redistricting issues in the landmark 1962 case Baker v. Carr, Frankfurter warned it would undermine the court's integrity.

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