Kennedy May Be Leaning Left on Huge Political Case

In questioning on gerrymandering, he seems to side with Democratic challengers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2017 9:32 AM CDT
Kennedy May Be Leaning Left on Huge Political Case
A man with a set of maps makes his way a redistricting trial in San Antonio.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Justice Anthony Kennedy may end up casting the deciding vote in one of the Supreme Court's biggest cases this term—and he appears to be leaning toward joining the court's more liberal justices when it comes to reining in gerrymandering. The court heard arguments Tuesday in a redistricting case from Wisconsin, where Democrats say Republicans created districts so lopsided that they violated voters' constitutional rights. Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, seemed skeptical of the arguments made by lawyers defending the Wisconsin voting map and didn't ask any questions at all of the lawyer representing the Democratic voters, which "would seem to bode well for the challengers," SCOTUSBlog notes.

Justices including Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it was time for the Supreme Court to step in and stop partisan gerrymandering, though Chief Justice John Roberts said he worried that the court itself would be seen as partisan if it started striking down voting districts, the New York Times reports. That would "cause very serious harm to the status and integrity of the decisions of this court in the eyes of the country," he said. Republicans including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. John McCain are siding with Democrats on the issue. "It is time to say hasta la vista to gerrymandering and it is time to terminate gerrymandering," Schwarzenegger said outside the court, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (More gerrymandering stories.)

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