Over the years, Supreme Court decisions have been found wanting by progressives and conservatives depending upon the issue. The happy side usually paralleled the Court’s composition. As Administrations changed new Court appointees tipped the Court’s outlook from conservative to progressive and back again. Consequently, he Court’s outlook somewhat reflected the political mood of the Country a few years prior.
Beginning with George W Bush’s election, the Court has entered a much more activist phase. The conservative majority has taken up matters which they could have avoided entirely or ruled more narrowly on technicalities. Most of these cases favor Republican views. The Court’s conservative majority, however, saw them as strict interpretation of the Constitution. Fair enough.
Case in point, Citizens United decision has opened the spigot funneling huge amounts of anonymous funding. While this ruling in theory provides the same opportunity for Democrats and Republicans, the real losers are Americans who expect Government to be representative of all citizens, not just special interests.
Now there is another issue coming before the Court which again could test the Court’s Party affiliation.
Six States have passed ballot initiatives which take the responsibility of defining voting district boundaries away State legislatures. These States have replaced the party controlled “gerrymandering” in order to eliminate districts which bare little resemblance to a cohesive piece of geography.
These gerrymandered districts maximize the chances for one party or the other. Independent commissions seemed an elegant solution. Not so says an Arizona suit being brought before the Supreme Court.
The Constitution place the right to define electoral districts in the hands of State Legislator. On the other hand, State Legislators are elected by the State’s citizens. So if the citizens choose to elect “districting commissions”, isn’t that the citizens right to speak through a commission rather than legislators?
There may be an important Constitutional issue here but I worry that the opportunity to tilt the Courts ruling in favor of one Party will be too tempting.