scowis.jpg

Tim Burns OpEd: Political values of state high court justices matter

Tuesday, all eyes in the country were focused on the Wisconsin case in front of the United States Supreme Court: Gill v. Whitford. This high-stakes partisan gerrymandering case could impact how legislative redistricting maps are drawn across the entire nation for generations to come. The tremendous efforts of the plaintiffs and their lawyers and supporters could greatly improve our democracy.

From reports of the oral argument in the Unites States Supreme Court, the Wisconsin gerrymandering case would likely come to a bitter conclusion if the most conservative justices were the sole decision-makers. Thankfully it is a court of nine, and much hope has been placed on the one vote of one justice: Anthony Kennedy.

One vote.

That’s right — the great promise of American democracy, “one person one vote” for Wisconsinites rests in Justice Kennedy’s hands. Although, I’m hopeful that Kennedy will make a good decision, I also know that other states have found other paths to address gerrymandering.

You see — Wisconsin is ultimately not dependent on the United States Supreme Court to fix our redistricting problems. Our state has a constitution, too, and any redistricting measure has to comply with our constitution.

Let’s look at Pennsylvania.