Thursday, June 27, 2019

US Supreme Court just handed the GOP right an even longer leash

Hard rain falling is in the political forecast.

Today's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts removes federal courts from reviewing partisan redistricting and hands that power to the states.

And that means that the Wisconsin Supreme Court - - already set to tilt 5-2 reliably pro-Republican will have even greater freedom through their unapologetic and signature, secretive gerrymandering methods to keep an authoritarian GOP in control of the Legislature, its law-making and spending.

Here is a reminder from veteran Capitol reporter of what the GOP's 201-2012 redistricting looked like - - and why today's US Supreme Court's validation of state judicial supremacy is so devastating to basic democracy:

...just after the new maps were unveiled, the Legislature held a single hearing on redistricting. Forty-nine people registered and 21 spoke against the bills; one person registered and six spoke in favor, including aides to Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. That’s an overall margin of 10 to one. 
In other words, the Legislature’s GOP leadership passed redistricting maps that were drafted in secret and received almost no public support, financial or otherwise, from any quarter. In this case, it seems, the legislators were motivated by a deeper core principle: self-interest.
Combine this burst of authority handed to ultra-partisans at the state level with the disproportionate power already enjoyed by smaller, red states through the Electoral College and the Citizens United ruling which gave wealthy corporations and Republicans the power to buy elections, and we're in for a long run of states' rights-driven, big-business pleasing reactionary governance.

Assembly Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald - - for life? Entirely possible with a friendly State Supreme Court stuffed with fat cat donor friends who are now free to let Republican legislators continue to pick their voters.

You can trace much of this lurch to the right to several other Supreme Court-related landmarks: the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore ruling which handed George W. Bush the presidency, and then his elevation of Roberts to the Chief Justiceship - - 

And finally to the power move by GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who shelved without a hearing or floor vote the entirely legal and appropriate Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland by President Obama - - and that guaranteed that Trump could make the first what has been two quick picks which put relatively young Justices on the Supreme Court: 

Justice Neil Gorsuch, then Justice Brett Kavanaugh who helped Roberts put together  today's 5-4, rightist reifying ruling.

And who will serve on the bench, like their Wisconsin counterparts in the Legislature and on the State Supreme Court, for decades.

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