Roundup of early stories on Vieth
A divided Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Republican-drawn redistricting plan for Pennsylvania and appeared to leave scant room for similar Democratic challenges in Texas and elsewhere. ...
Several appeals to the Texas redistricting plan are pending at the court, but Richard Hasen, an election law expert at Loyola Law School, said the Pennsylvania ruling is bad news for Democrats in those cases.
"It was already extremely difficult. Now it is even more difficult, because you have four justices saying the door is completely closed," he said, referring to Scalia, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas. -- High court ruling in Pennsylvania case seems to offer bad news for Democratic challenges in other states (AP via Miami Herald)
"The fact that they came so close to eliminating cases over political gerrymandering but didn't do it is very significant," said Nathaniel Persily, a law professor and redistricting expert at the University of Pennsylvania. "What we're left with is Justice Kennedy's opinion, which proposes a whole new way of thinking about this."
Kennedy, in an opinion upholding Pennsylvania's map but leaving the door open to other lawsuits, suggested gerrymandering could be prohibited if the districts violate First Amendment tenets on freedom of association.
"These allegations involve the First Amendment interest of not burdening or penalizing citizens because of their participation in the electoral process, their voting history, their association with a political party, or their expression of political views," Kennedy wrote. "Under general First Amendment principles, those burdens in other contexts are unconstitutional absent a compelling government interest."
Persily said that could be a ray of hope to minority-party voters in many states: "If you're a party that feels you've been shafted, what do you do tomorrow? You say it's ideological discrimination. If you make it a First Amendment argument, now you can get back in the door." -- Supreme Court upholds Pennsylvania's GOP-leaning redistricting (Knight Ridder Newspapers via MercuryNews.com)
The UPI story is here.