26 votes

Supreme Court finds that courts can't rule on partisan gerrymandering cases

40 comments

  1. [8]
    rkcr
    Link
    Before, gerrymandering was done in a kind of secretive, circumspect manner. Does this ruling mean that people can be wantonly brazen about gerrymandering? Like the moment you have enough power to...

    Before, gerrymandering was done in a kind of secretive, circumspect manner. Does this ruling mean that people can be wantonly brazen about gerrymandering? Like the moment you have enough power to redraw lines, you can just do so in the most beneficial way without any consequences?

    17 votes
    1. [7]
      Chopincakes
      Link Parent
      IANAL, but I think it creates a catch-22/paradox in that respect. Judges would tell you that, no, gerrymandering is illegal under the Equal Protections Clause and parts of the Voting Rights Act,...

      IANAL, but I think it creates a catch-22/paradox in that respect.

      Judges would tell you that, no, gerrymandering is illegal under the Equal Protections Clause and parts of the Voting Rights Act, but then might refuse or be unable to take on cases to determine if gerrymandering has happened within a particular region due to this SCOTUS ruling. Like you said, I think we might go back to some beautiful abstract artwork that are gerrymandered districts across the US

      10 votes
      1. [6]
        GnomeChompski
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It feels like everthing is boiling down to a difficult, but important fight. Specifically, if we continue to see successful ancillary efforts in changing laws, regulations, and test law cases like...

        It feels like everthing is boiling down to a difficult, but important fight. Specifically, if we continue to see successful ancillary efforts in changing laws, regulations, and test law cases like this unfair gerrymandering, legislative lobbying, placing puppet politicians in power via campaign funding beyond the average citizen's ability, and partisan Supreme Court Justice nominations, we will inevitably become so broken in a one sided manner where the the ones in majority amass total power and hold it, that we will either rise up in an awakening of our strength and finally exercise our power to vote as a united nation to change this, or violently revolt en mass as a final action before complete subjugation.

        My hope is that we collectively wake up and realize that we need to finally exercise our power of voting and elect people into power that will stir up the status que so bad that it will drive the corruption into disaray and loss for clear direction.

        We don't have time to wait for slow and measured action. The world is on fire. We can't sit idly by while unjust and oppressive laws are being enacted. The nation is suffering more every day.

        We need to vote for the politicians who will fight for the nation as a whole and who will do it in the most radical way. And not just one or two, but down the ticket all the way to our local municipalities.

        We need to change laws.

        We need to encourage each other to vote!

        Please vote!!!!

        9 votes
        1. [2]
          VoidOutput
          Link Parent
          I'm sure voting is essential but I'm afraid this will take more effort to fix, ie. protests and activism.

          I'm sure voting is essential but I'm afraid this will take more effort to fix, ie. protests and activism.

          5 votes
          1. GnomeChompski
            Link Parent
            I agree. And that's not exactly what I meant. Take a look at the response to @no_exit below.

            I agree. And that's not exactly what I meant. Take a look at the response to @no_exit below.

        2. [2]
          no_exit
          Link Parent
          I don't mean to take much of a dig at you specifically, but I can't help but laugh when people say stuff like and then their call to action is 'vote!' It doesn't get any slower than electoralism.

          I don't mean to take much of a dig at you specifically, but I can't help but laugh when people say stuff like

          We don't have time to wait for slow and measured action.

          and then their call to action is 'vote!' It doesn't get any slower than electoralism.

          3 votes
          1. GnomeChompski
            Link Parent
            I appreciate your respect and room for understanding my point of view in particular. I've been meaning to respond to you ever since I read your comment. So let me at least tell you why I said that...

            I appreciate your respect and room for understanding my point of view in particular. I've been meaning to respond to you ever since I read your comment. So let me at least tell you why I said that we should all, at the very least, vote above all else.

            Let me start with "no time for slow and measured action". I was referring to the messages of certain candidates who think a change, regardless of size and effect it will have, is reasonable and acceptable even if slow and small. We have to be keen to the goals of the candidates and look at their track record to see what they've stood for, what they fought for, what they did in actions and said on paper and voice, and hold them accountable (regardless of apologies or not) for their past as leaders. This goes for the good and the bad. I don't want to throw out names from past or current election cycles, this is something we should ponder on our own.

            As for voting being the slowest, I agree. I think voting is the least of the options for our situation. I believe that change will take lots of effort on the part of the upcoming leaders who will spearhead change, and collective support in marches and protests by the masses who support those leaders. And maybe then the elected politicians will respect that we are voicing our wants via actions and remember that they need to listen to the people. But to get there is not as easy as just saying we need to do something. Hong Kong is prime example.

            See, I was part of the 99% and I was not happy with what came of it all. In fact, I'm still mad. The Occupy movement was a failure. It was decentralized and disorganized. Our movement was rendered all but voiceless with piss poor coverage and investigative reporting by the conglomerate and international media sources, and we were put into check by the mayors and police of the cities we sprung up in. I still think we need to revisit the sins of the banks and make them pay for our troubles today. But there are current candidates who say things like they will not "demonize" the wealthy, and that if elected "no one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change" (yes, real candidate quote). So, voting in this case is necessary. Go out and make sure you encourage people to educate themselves on issues and the candidates and vote in the primaries too.

            But the problem about voting in primaries is the corruption in politics, and we all should know what happened in the DNC during the last election cycle. And so to your point, we need way more than just the electoral process. But who will lead, who will stand up, who will organize, who will bring us all together when we're so divided?

            Let me make this clear. I would, but I can't afford the consequences. Not anymore. I have little mouths to feed now. I don't live for myself anymore, and although I would fight tooth and nail for my children and their future, I'm neither rich enough to secure my family's future if I'm no longer around, strong enough to willfully endanger myself to the point that my kids loose a father, or poor enough to not have anything to loose and fight like it's life or death. I'm in the system and in the sweet spot, just like the they want us. So, I won't miss days on end from work to fight or lead a cause, because then, my children will inevitably suffer, and I won't put myself in a situation where being a number in the masses will land me in jail or unable to go back to work for days on end either for the same reason.

            So... I'm fucked.

            But I can talk to everyone I meet, and to everyone I come in contact with, and tell them to do whatever they can, even if it's just to think about what's going on, to think about our chance to elect the right leaders, and to at least fucking vote and do it right!

            4 votes
        3. moriarty
          Link Parent
          I'm sad to tell you that this is not going to come to a boiling point. This situation has already happened in several countries (not the SCOTUS gerrymandering decision, but a mad right-wing power...

          I'm sad to tell you that this is not going to come to a boiling point. This situation has already happened in several countries (not the SCOTUS gerrymandering decision, but a mad right-wing power grab of political and judicial institutions). If you take Israel, Poland or Italy for example, the right has managed to make massive corrupt gains and over the years have marginalized and all but outlawed the left. To be a left-wing supporter in Israel, for example, is tantamount to being a traitor, and people will not be shy about telling you so. I imagine we are to expect the same here, with the slow inevitable decline of checks and balances in favor of a hyper-politicized paradigm in which everything is judged by political standard.
          I hope I am wrong.

          2 votes
  2. [25]
    Loire
    Link
    Another loss for democracy, largely in the Republicans favour. If an "impartial" court system can't rule on gerrymandering, who can? The politicians that did the dirty work in the first place? Not...

    Another loss for democracy, largely in the Republicans favour. If an "impartial" court system can't rule on gerrymandering, who can? The politicians that did the dirty work in the first place? Not a single conservative justice saw this as an issue?

    It's becoming clear that 2016 was one of the most important elections in decades and the left completely dropped the ball. The American Far Right is racking up win after win where it matters, when are Democratic voters going to step up and start fighting back?

    16 votes
    1. [6]
      alyaza
      Link Parent
      they stepped up in 2018, but unless you want them to start literally killing people, there's only so much you can do within the framework of government when you only control the house and have a...

      It's becoming clear that 2016 was one of the most important elections in decades and the left completely dropped the ball. The American Far Right is racking up win after win where it matters, when are Democratic voters going to step up and start fighting back?

      they stepped up in 2018, but unless you want them to start literally killing people, there's only so much you can do within the framework of government when you only control the house and have a structural disadvantage in the senate.

      7 votes
      1. [5]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        And they've stepped up before to no avail. I am looking at a larger picture here, rather than individual elections. Voting is not enough for Dem's. We have seen the constant pressure Republicans...

        And they've stepped up before to no avail. I am looking at a larger picture here, rather than individual elections. Voting is not enough for Dem's. We have seen the constant pressure Republicans have put on America's democratic systems over the last 50 years in order to set up the structural advantages they have now.

        In 2008 all the talk was that the Republican's would have significant issues winning elections going into the future due to demographics. And then they won the house in 2010, the senate in 2014, the presidency in 2016 (with a cataclysmically bad candidate), and maintained the senate in 2018. Now there is already hand ringing and concessions about maybe not winning the senate in 2020. This is despite a historicalky unpopular Republican president. Trump lost the popular vote by over 3 million votes, and still sits in the oval office.

        Clearly voting election to election is not getting the job done. You say

        there's only so much you can do within the framework of government when you only control the house and have a structural disadvantage in the senate

        But the reason we are in this place is because we have let successive Republican politicians incrementally build that disadvantage against their opponents. They didn't talk about "demographical disadvantages" and ring their hands. They set out to fundamentally shift the system in their favour and they accomplished it eith patience and consistency.

        What do I want them to do? I want them to play for keeps. I want the next Democratic executive and legislature to expand the supreme court. By at least 2 seats. I want them to do everything in their power to eliminate gerrymandering. I want them to address the blatant corruption and illegality that has festered in their oponents.

        I want them, and us, to stop making excuses, to go out and start putting the foundation in place for their 50 year effort.

        6 votes
        1. [4]
          alyaza
          Link Parent
          all of which are readily explainable, if you've kept up with the postmortems. republicans won the house in 2010 almost entirely because of outrage over obamacare which was quite unpopular (and...

          In 2008 all the talk was that the Republican's would have significant issues winning elections going into the future due to demographics. And then they won the house in 2010, the senate in 2014, the presidency in 2016 (with a cataclysmically bad candidate), and maintained the senate in 2018. Now there is already hand ringing and concessions about maybe not winning the senate in 2020. This is despite a historicalky unpopular Republican president. Trump lost the popular vote by over 3 million votes, and still sits in the oval office.
          Clearly voting election to election is not getting the job done.

          all of which are readily explainable, if you've kept up with the postmortems. republicans won the house in 2010 almost entirely because of outrage over obamacare which was quite unpopular (and also because democrats carried a ton of seats in 2008 they had no business keeping or holding); they won the senate in 2014 because of historically low turnout; and they won the presidency in 2016 because among other things clinton was unpopular, unlucky, and unable to activate voters. she needed to win handily and in large numbers. demographically, they do have issues and they have since 2008, but those issues have been papered over by their string of lucky elections; it's not for nothing that their 2012 presidential post-mortem was on how they need to appeal to minorities and not double down on being the white voter party (or if they're going to double down, really double down), or they're fucked in the future. winning over white people only works if white people break hard for them or minorities don't turn out--when they don't and minorities do, as was true in 2017 and 2018, they get annihilated because they lose every minority group handily. there's a pretty obvious path for winning in 2020 for the democrats, and by all accounts democrats seem to know what that path is.

          But the reason we are in this place is because we have let successive Republican politicians incrementally build that disadvantage against their opponents. They didn't talk about "demographical disadvantages" and ring their hands. They set out to fundamentally shift the system in their favour and they accomplished it eith patience and consistency.

          they actually do, a lot. their whole motivation for stacking the deck as they do is literally that they have future structural and demographic disadvantages that their party is either unwilling or unable to address and they therefore need to lock in some way of keeping their disadvantages at bay in short order or they are totally fucked. republicans aren't idiots: they know that their current coalition is not sustainable in even the moderate term even if it wins them elections from time to time, and they have since obama romped over mccain and made a bunch of states that shouldn't have been competitive. it's why they gerrymandered as much as they did when they got the chance: in fair elections, none of the swing states are reliable for them (nor are their legislatures, or miscellaneous positions) and as demographic change intensifies, they're looking increasingly weak in the big sun belt states even as they're doing better in the rust belt states.

          in fact, democrats basically can eat a loss in every swing or close state but pennsylvania (which is a very unlikely map to have take place) and still win 282-256 in the electoral college if they flip georgia, arizona, and texas (all of which are demographically trending in their favor and which are going to gain electoral votes in the next few cycles, most likely). that's ultimately the problem republicans have. even if they do better in the rust belt and upper north, swing states and the sun belt are almost bound to offset that in a way republicans can't really counter short of being less shit to minorities or going all in on neo-fascism and white supremacy, and it seems like trump is setting them on the course for the latter, which has spectacular potential to backfire and in some respects already is.

          What do I want them to do? I want them to play for keeps. I want the next Democratic executive and legislature to expand the supreme court. By at least 2 seats. I want them to do everything in their power to eliminate gerrymandering. I want them to address the blatant corruption and illegality that has festered in their oponents.

          better get to work then, because that all realistically requires them to flip at least three seats in the senate during the 2020 and 2022 cycles, and probably more because that's going to be a tough sell to democratic senators, especially the ones like manchin in red states, and at least one democrat is likely to lose a senate seat in that time (probably jones, honestly).

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            Akir
            Link Parent
            These aren't just "lucky elections", as you call them. They were both examples of elections that were won because of concentrated and long-lasting FUD campaigns. The ACA was unpopular not because...

            republicans won the house in 2010 almost entirely because of outrage over obamacare which was quite unpopular

            they won the presidency in 2016 because among other things clinton was unpopular, unlucky, and unable to activate voters.

            These aren't just "lucky elections", as you call them. They were both examples of elections that were won because of concentrated and long-lasting FUD campaigns. The ACA was unpopular not because it was a failure, but because republicans kept telling everyone it was the devil. If you want to know why they kept trying to repeal it for so many years in spite of it usually being a huge waste of time, it was entirely so they could keep telling voters that they were trying to save them from the government and their death panels. The same thing happened with Clinton. Benghazi, anyone? Buttery males?

            Republicans keep winning because they own the conversation. They've got a number of media outlets that publish any crazy idea they think might stick in the public's mind backed up by a number of other media outlets who act like useful idiots with their "Teach the controversy" style of reporting, which usually just spreads the message further.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              alyaza
              Link Parent
              no, they were definitely lucky, and neither would have been nearly as bad (or possible) without the luck factor. 2010 was good republican strategy, but it was also a cavalcade of things which...

              These aren't just "lucky elections", as you call them.

              no, they were definitely lucky, and neither would have been nearly as bad (or possible) without the luck factor. 2010 was good republican strategy, but it was also a cavalcade of things which happened to combine together to rain devastation on the democrats at the worst possible time: the continuing realignment of historically democratic areas like the south; a landslide victory in the house, senate, and in the presidency in 2008 that left them vastly overextended everywhere during a change of strategy; supercharged republican turnout and democrats seeing the writing on the wall but failing to adapt anywhere near in time; etc. had 2008 not been a landslide for obama, 2010 would have been nowhere near as bad. obama won and made competitive places that democrats will most likely not be competitive in for the next 50 years short of a party realignment.

              2016 was also good republican strategy--but i've also written at length about 2016, and how many of the "surprises" in 2016 only were because the media ignored them. clinton also most likely would have won in 2016 even in spite of the media fucking that all up if not for the media losing their shit over comey reopening the investigation, which caused her to nosedive late in the polls and probably was the most material thing to make a difference in how the election broke.

              1 vote
              1. BuckeyeSundae
                Link Parent
                The thing I always emphasize to people who try to undermine this point is that many (if not most) moderate voters decide who to vote for in the last week of the election cycle. The last seven...

                clinton also most likely would have won in 2016 even in spite of the media fucking that all up if not for the media losing their shit over comey reopening the investigation, which caused her to nosedive late in the polls and probably was the most material thing to make a difference in how the election broke.

                The thing I always emphasize to people who try to undermine this point is that many (if not most) moderate voters decide who to vote for in the last week of the election cycle. The last seven days. What was the news cycle for those last seven days? Oh, Comey and his letter.

                That october was full of horrible news cycles for both Hillary and Donald. It was like bouncing back and forth every week as far as who was getting slammed with a horrible story. But it was always federal investigation that impacted Hillary's numbers the most. We saw it in July. We saw it in November.

                3 votes
    2. [16]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      They are, and it's working. The 2018 midterms were a massive win for the Democrats and severely hampered the ability of the administration to pass its agenda. Pelosi has won most of the...

      When are Democratic voters going to step up and start fighting back?

      They are, and it's working. The 2018 midterms were a massive win for the Democrats and severely hampered the ability of the administration to pass its agenda. Pelosi has won most of the head-to-heads she has had with Trump. It also highlighted important demographic shifts (educated suburban voters shifting left, for example) that will help strategize for 2020. And it showed that an issue based approach to campaigning will work.

      Democratic controlled states have been passing progressive reforms, and AGs in those states have won key victories in combating policies on the right. Grassroots activism has been through the roof for the last 3 years. 4 of the top 5 largest demonstrations in US history have happened since Trump was elected. People are far more interested in 2020 this early on than were much later in the cycle in 2016.

      Defeats like this are certainly demoralizing, but voters are certainly stepping up and that will hopefully only increase.

      If an "impartial" court system can't rule on gerrymandering, who can?

      The people, as naive as it sounds. It would probably take a constitutional amendment, but it is possible, and if enough people get energized, maybe not even too improbable down the line.

      3 votes
      1. [15]
        Greg
        Link Parent
        Out of interest, do you know if there's a provably impartial solution to this that could be written into the amendment? The naïve mathematician in me says to define a formula based on census...

        The people, as naive as it sounds. It would probably take a constitutional amendment, but it is possible, and if enough people get energized, maybe not even too improbable down the line.

        Out of interest, do you know if there's a provably impartial solution to this that could be written into the amendment? The naïve mathematician in me says to define a formula based on census population density and leave it at that, but reality is rarely that simple.

        1 vote
        1. gpl
          Link Parent
          There are computational methods that can draw maps in a more fair way, but there is always a possibility that the algorithms governing those are biased. But an amendment would not have to lay out...

          There are computational methods that can draw maps in a more fair way, but there is always a possibility that the algorithms governing those are biased. But an amendment would not have to lay out a precise formula - it could just prohibit "partisan redistricting", which would give the courts the authority to decide on a case by case basis. Just as the constitution doesn't have to explicitly enumerate what is free speech, for example.

          4 votes
        2. [12]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          You could just create an independent statutory organisation and delegate all electoral matters to that organisation. That's how we do it here in Australia. The Australian Electoral Commission is...

          Out of interest, do you know if there's a provably impartial solution to this that could be written into the amendment?

          You could just create an independent statutory organisation and delegate all electoral matters to that organisation. That's how we do it here in Australia. The Australian Electoral Commission is an arms-length independent body which decides the size and shape of all federal electorates, within limits laid down by law (the number of electorates is determined by the constitution, and the variation in population between electorates can not be more than 10% by law). And the AEC creates a committee whenever it feels the need to re-draw electoral boundaries, due to population movements in the area. Any recommendations it makes are impartial and can not be altered or rejected by the government.

          In the USA, it would be a matter of deciding how many electorates there should be, and that's it. Calculate the number of voters needed in each electorate by dividing the total population of voters by the number of electorates. Then enforce a limit which says that no electorate can deviate from that number of voters by more than X% (in Australia, it's set at 10%). Then hand it over to an independent body to work out where to draw the electoral boundaries to make that happen.

          It's just stupid to have the political parties themselves be responsible for running the electoral system that elects them. That's such a blatant conflict of interest that it's no wonder there's gerrymandering.

          4 votes
          1. [11]
            gpl
            Link Parent
            How are people on that commission chosen, and by who? Can they be removed? I am in general not comfortable with commissions like that, with that power, that are not accountable to the people even...

            How are people on that commission chosen, and by who? Can they be removed?

            I am in general not comfortable with commissions like that, with that power, that are not accountable to the people even indirectly.

            1 vote
            1. [6]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              I didn't know how the commissioners are chosen. Thanks for making me do the research! It seems that Australian Electoral Commissioners are appointed by the Governor-General (or by State Governors...

              I didn't know how the commissioners are chosen. Thanks for making me do the research!

              It seems that Australian Electoral Commissioners are appointed by the Governor-General (or by State Governors if they're state commissioners). [The Governor-General is the Australia monarch's local representative, with most of the monarch's constitutional powers being delegated to the Governor-General in the monarch's absence.] The appointments are made based on recommendations from the government of the day, and the Governor-General usually appoints the recommended people (and the recommended people are usually public servants, rather than politicians).

              The fact that these appointments are made by the Governor-General means that the government of the day can't stack the Commission with partisan commissioners. Even though the Governor-General wouldn't normally refuse a recommendation, if the political party currently in government decided to recommend one of its own members as a commissioner, the Governor-General could simply refuse to appoint that person.

              I don't know if commissioners can be removed. However, I would hope they can't be removed, as that means the government of the day has no influence over the Commission if it does something they disagree with. The commissioners need to be independent in order to do their job without fear or favour.

              You Americans seem to have an obsession with everyone being elected - even judges and sheriffs! That just looks ridiculous to me. Not everything needs to be turned into a popularity contest. Sometimes you want to appoint the best person for the job, not the person who can pay for the best election campaign.

              4 votes
              1. [5]
                gpl
                Link Parent
                Interesting, that seems like an important role for the Governor-General to have. I'd be curious to find when the last time they rejected an appointment was. And I'm perfectly comfortable with...

                Interesting, that seems like an important role for the Governor-General to have. I'd be curious to find when the last time they rejected an appointment was.

                And I'm perfectly comfortable with having appointed officials in government - federal judges, heads of executive agencies, etc. I am not comfortable with their not being recourse for the government (i.e. representatives chosen by the people) to remove those appointees should it be deemed necessary.

                1 vote
                1. [4]
                  Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  The GG already has the power to call elections. I assume that, when the government set up the AEC in 1984, they decided it made sense to have the GG semi-responsible for the independent body that...

                  Interesting, that seems like an important role for the Governor-General to have.

                  The GG already has the power to call elections. I assume that, when the government set up the AEC in 1984, they decided it made sense to have the GG semi-responsible for the independent body that runs those elections. It also forced all future governments to behave themselves when recommending appointments to the Commission.

                  I'd be curious to find when the last time they rejected an appointment was.

                  I'd say never. That would have created a scandal. It would have meant either: the Governor-General had gone rogue, or; the government of the day was trying to push through a dodgy character to the Commission. Either of those scenarios would make headlines across the country.

                  I am not comfortable with their not being recourse for the government (i.e. representatives chosen by the people) to remove those appointees should it be deemed necessary.

                  The Australian Electoral Commission is responsible for, among other things, drawing the electoral boundaries for elections to the House of Representatives (called "redistribution"). This prevents gerrymandering, as this is being done by an independent impartial body, rather than by the government.

                  If the government could remove commissioners, the Commission would lose its independence. As soon as the commission recommended an electoral redistribution which happened to disadvantage the government in one seat (so that they might lose that seat at the next election), the government could then remove the commissioners. They could never do their work impartially for fear of annoying the government and losing their jobs.

                  What would be the point of having an independent commission if the government can sack the commissioners?

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    gpl
                    Link Parent
                    In practice, isn't this functionally the same as just having the government appoint the commission then? Not necessarily. If there was a high threshold for removal, there would still be...

                    I'd say never. That would have created a scandal. It would have meant either: the Governor-General had gone rogue, or; the government of the day was trying to push through a dodgy character to the Commission. Either of those scenarios would make headlines across the country.

                    In practice, isn't this functionally the same as just having the government appoint the commission then?

                    If the government could remove commissioners, the Commission would lose its independence. As soon as the commission recommended an electoral redistribution which happened to disadvantage the government in one seat (so that they might lose that seat at the next election), the government could then remove the commissioners. They could never do their work impartially for fear of annoying the government and losing their jobs.

                    Not necessarily. If there was a high threshold for removal, there would still be accountability with little risk of abuse. In the US, federal judges can be impeached for example but the requirements to be removed are relatively high, and as such it hasn't been abused to any measurable extent. Yet, the mechanism to hold these appointed officials is still there which I think is important.

                    In general I am all for independent commissions, and perhaps unsurprisingly I agree that gerrymandering is a net negative for the democratic process. But I also think it is important to recognize that independent does not mean incorruptible or unbiased, even if it means that the effects of those things are diminished. I think its important to have some mechanism for accountability for this reason.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      Algernon_Asimov
                      Link Parent
                      No. I was trying to say that, if a Governor-General had ever refused a recommended appoint to the AEC, it would have made BIG news everywhere. However, I've never heard or seen that BIG news, so I...

                      In practice, isn't this functionally the same as just having the government appoint the commission then?

                      No.

                      I was trying to say that, if a Governor-General had ever refused a recommended appoint to the AEC, it would have made BIG news everywhere. However, I've never heard or seen that BIG news, so I assume that the Governor-General has never refused an recommendation.

                      Why would it be BIG news?

                      Because it would mean the Governor-General thought the recommended appointee was so bad that they felt the need to break decades of convention in order to refuse the recommendation. And that would instantly tell the Australian people that the government of the day was trying to recommend someone dodgy to the Commission.

                      But governments don't want that scandal. So they don't recommend dodgy people.

                      The process works. It's not forcing Governors-General to appoint governments' recommended appointees regardless of their suitability, it's forcing governments to only recommend suitable people.

                      1 vote
                      1. vektor
                        Link Parent
                        Never underestimate the power of a moral figurehead who is expected to say "yes" to basically everything if and when they deem a "no" necessary. The german president is very similar, he's mostly a...

                        Never underestimate the power of a moral figurehead who is expected to say "yes" to basically everything if and when they deem a "no" necessary. The german president is very similar, he's mostly a symbolic figure, but has a few key veto rights, basically*. They'd never use it for political reasons, and the president is generally chosen by a wide majority, and picked to be someone with great moral standing, so them using their powers for party politics would be a Big Deal(TM). But if they deem a "No" necessary, I'm sure that's the stuff resignation letters are made of.

                        I wonder how much those safeguards rely too much on tradition though. It seems easily enough eroded, given enduring attack. If the traditional power of that "no" is eroded, there's not that much left.

                        *Signs laws, appoints or dismisses the chancellor and other high officials

                        2 votes
            2. [4]
              cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              We have independent election commissions here in Canada (and in Australia too) and it’s been working well enough. Whereas all the countries with partisan/legislative redistricting seem to have...

              We have independent election commissions here in Canada (and in Australia too) and it’s been working well enough. Whereas all the countries with partisan/legislative redistricting seem to have serious gerrymandering issues, E.g. France, Germany (see below) and the US. So while it’s not perfect, it’s still a damn sight better than what you currently have going on in most States, especially now that SCOTUS has just washed the judiciary’s hands of the problem.

              that are not accountable to the people even indirectly.

              They are accountable to the people both directly and indirectly, at least here in Canada, as there must be at least one public hearing as part of the procedure, members of the House of Commons can file objections to commission reports in the 30 day interval after they're filed, and the final reports are made public as well.

              How are people on that commission chosen, and by who? Can they be removed?

              https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-3/page-1.html#h-213536

              Constitution of commission

              Each commission for a province shall consist of three members, namely, a chairperson and two other members appointed as provided in sections 5 and 6.

              Appointment of chairperson

              5 (1) The chairperson of the commission for a province shall be appointed by the chief justice of that province from among the judges of the court over which the chief justice presides or, after consultation with the chief justice of any other branch or division of that court or any other superior court in that province, from among the judges of that branch, division or superior court.

              Appointment of other members

              6 (1) The other two members of the commission for a province shall be appointed by the Speaker from among such persons resident in that province as the Speaker deems suitable.

              And while they cannot be removed (to my knowledge), there are still many check and balances in place to keep them accountable and the results fair, so that has never really been necessary AFAIK. This is thanks to the various commission Rules, oversight by the Chief Statistician and Chief Electoral Officer, public hearings and objection filing / "doubtful cases" procedures. See the rest of that laws-lois link for more on the nitty gritty.

              3 votes
              1. gpl
                Link Parent
                These checks are important for sure. As I mentioned above, I am in favor of some type of independent commission and am unsurprisingly no fan of gerrymandering. Nonetheless, I think having...

                These checks are important for sure. As I mentioned above, I am in favor of some type of independent commission and am unsurprisingly no fan of gerrymandering. Nonetheless, I think having government officials ultimately accountable to the people is important - if only because permanent or otherwise 'secure' appointments are ripe opportunities for corruption. Even though the balanced nature of these commissions may diminish this, I personally think it is important to have some mechanism for accountability.

                1 vote
              2. [2]
                vektor
                Link Parent
                Can you elaborate about why it's a problem in germany? In principle it's possible, I suppose, but I always thought proportional representation (which we have, in a mostly-clever hybrid system)...

                Can you elaborate about why it's a problem in germany? In principle it's possible, I suppose, but I always thought proportional representation (which we have, in a mostly-clever hybrid system) eliminates that? After a recent clarification (Ausgleichsmandate) by the BVerfG (supreme court), we have an election system that guarantees personal proportional representation. All gerrymandering could do is increase the total number of delegates, maintaining proportionality.

                1 vote
                1. cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  I'm not German so absolutely can't speak definitively here, and you probably know better than me being German... but as I understand it, half the seats in the Bundestag are distributed to district...

                  I'm not German so absolutely can't speak definitively here, and you probably know better than me being German... but as I understand it, half the seats in the Bundestag are distributed to district based plurality votes, similar to the US, and the other half is assigned to the parties in order to equal out the overall proportions. And while that system ideally eliminates most forms of gerrymandering, there was still some major issues that occurred under that system over the years due to overhang seats. See: The Germany section of the gerrymandering wiki article I linked previously.

                  However, if all those potential issues have actually been completely fixed with the 2013 Supreme Court ruling (which I wasn't actually aware of until now, BTW) then I will gladly retract my previous mention of Germany having gerrymandering issues.

                  1 vote
        3. psi
          Link Parent
          I believe mathematicians actually did submit amicus briefs offering algorithms to measure/counter gerrymandering. Unfortunately, it seems like the Court decided "impartiality" was more important...

          I believe mathematicians actually did submit amicus briefs offering algorithms to measure/counter gerrymandering. Unfortunately, it seems like the Court decided "impartiality" was more important than evidence-based solutions.

          2 votes
    3. The_Fad
      Link Parent
      Question: How much of the fault lies with the ambiguous "left" and how much lies with the ambiguous "right"? Because in terms of "playing to win", so to speak, the right pulled out all the stops...

      Question: How much of the fault lies with the ambiguous "left" and how much lies with the ambiguous "right"? Because in terms of "playing to win", so to speak, the right pulled out all the stops and succeeded a lot of times in spite of the actions on the left. To be sure, I agree that the leadership on the liberal side may not have taken the situation as seriously as they should have, but I don't think it's entirely fair to blame them solely, or even majorly, for the outcome. I think the american public just got fleeced by a group of people who are very good at manipulation.

      1 vote
    4. DonQuixote
      Link Parent
      It's all about money now. Maybe it always was, back to the first constitutional convention.

      It's all about money now. Maybe it always was, back to the first constitutional convention.

  3. [5]
    Spodacus
    Link
    The SCOUTS seriously needs to be held accountable for its blatant partisanship. Nobody else effectively creates and dismantles federal laws without being elected so why should they not be elected?...

    The SCOUTS seriously needs to be held accountable for its blatant partisanship. Nobody else effectively creates and dismantles federal laws without being elected so why should they not be elected? Or at the very least they should have to win a majority vote to be approved. If I were able I would propose a bill that removes the justices three per four years, rotating through them. Then each justice would have a 12-year term instead of sitting on the bench forever making Partisan decisions. What are you guys' thoughts on the power of the SCOTUS?

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      alyaza
      Link Parent
      well, it's exceedingly obvious that the supreme court has lost the "veneer" of nonpartisanship people like to think it had so i'm pretty sure the first chance someone gets, it'll be turned into a...

      well, it's exceedingly obvious that the supreme court has lost the "veneer" of nonpartisanship people like to think it had so i'm pretty sure the first chance someone gets, it'll be turned into a body which doesn't lock in the whims of a minority for 40 years purely because everything has to run through the senate, and it won't be a moment too soon.

      7 votes
      1. Spodacus
        Link Parent
        Maybe the solution is to also run Justice confirmations through the house?

        Maybe the solution is to also run Justice confirmations through the house?

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      So, you would turn the judges of your Supreme Court into politicians. They would have to run campaigns to get elected, and would probably end up being members of the political parties in order to...

      so why should they not be elected? Or at the very least they should have to win a majority vote to be approved.

      So, you would turn the judges of your Supreme Court into politicians. They would have to run campaigns to get elected, and would probably end up being members of the political parties in order to get the parties to fund those campaigns.

      Wouldn't that make them more partisan than they are now?

      3 votes
      1. Spodacus
        Link Parent
        Originally I might have agreed with you. But now what ends up happening is presidents put in as radical of a justice as they can afford to in order to affirm their agenda for years to come. I...

        Originally I might have agreed with you. But now what ends up happening is presidents put in as radical of a justice as they can afford to in order to affirm their agenda for years to come. I think we have continuously seen that the SCOTUS is even more partisan than Congress. Perhaps a comparison to state supreme courts could help us evaluate this? I know in my home state of WV our Supreme Court just saw all of the justices removed for corruption. Granted they did commit that corruption, but at least they were removed right?

        3 votes
  4. Diet_Coke
    Link
    What a bunch of hacks. We need to pack the courts and reform the system following 2020.

    What a bunch of hacks. We need to pack the courts and reform the system following 2020.

    3 votes