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Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, said justices are not likely to find it any easier to set objective rules than it has in past redistricting cases.
“The Supreme Court’s been here before on gerrymandering, and there was great disagreement on what the test should be,” he said.
Churchwell said that in addition to Kennedy, it is important to watch two justices who were not on the court in 2003 — Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts. He said Gorsuch is a “blank slate” on election law, and Roberts will come under enormous pressure to “atone” for his vote striking down part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
If the high court rules against Wisconsin, Churchwell said, it will push more states to create non-partisan commissions to draw political maps every decade. That dovetails with one of former President Barack Obama’s post-presidency projects and the goals of his former attorney general, Eric Holder.
“The bottom line is Eric Holder and company … want to see the power of redistricting taken away from legislatures and put in commissions that have an agenda,” he said. “They’re so tired of losing elections, they’re just throwing up their hands and saying, ‘Fine, we’ll just change the rules.'”