Editorial: Redistricting ruling was predictable

Jul. 10, 2013 @ 04:24 PM

That a three-judge panel ruled unanimously on Monday to uphold the legislative and congressional districts drawn by Republicans after the 2010 census should have been a foregone conclusion.

The process that the Republicans used was not so different that the Democrats used when they were in control of redistricting.

Indeed, though opponents said the Republicans’ gerrymandering resulted in strange-looking districts that confused voters, the Associated Press reported that the judges said they couldn’t discern any meaningful difference between the shape of those districts and alternatives offered by critics.

“To be sure, there are several districts in the enacted plan that are ‘ugly’ and that would appear to most to be bizarrely shaped, irregular and non-compact,” the judges said, but they couldn’t “find that any district, simply on this ground alone, can be declared to be in violation of law or unconstitutional.”

The only difference between 2001 (or any previous post-census redistricting) and 2011 is that anyone (of either party) seeking to gerrymander now has computer power and voter data that would have made Huey Long and Richard Daley salivate.

We have no doubt that if the Democrats win the legislature in the 2020 elections, they will put the same kind of tools to work — only those tools will be even more powerful by 2021.

If you want to ensure politics is not at work in redistricting, you have to remove human judgment and have computers draw lines based purely on compactness, geography and possibly existing municipal lines.

The current process was built intentionally to allow political influences to determine the outcome. Life in general is not fair, and politics is worse.

Advice to those now contemplating appealing the judges’ ruling: Stop wasting the time it takes to complain and instead make a coherent argument to voters. Win an election.

There’s an old saying, “To the winners go the spoils.” It always has been true, and it always will be.