Wisconsin Gerrymandering Ruling;
Greitens Still Lingering

By Jim Ellis

Wisconsin Congressional Districts

Wisconsin Congressional Districts

June 20, 2018 — The United States Supreme Court issued their long-awaited ruling on the Wisconsin political gerrymandering case on Monday, and it basically sends the parties back to the drawing board. At one time it was thought that Wisconsin was the vehicle for the high court to issue a definitive ruling regarding political gerrymandering, which continues to be the subject of many live redistricting lawsuits. Instead, on a rare 9-0 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have the necessary standing to bring the action.

The plaintiffs came from four Wisconsin Assembly districts who claimed they were personally harmed by the state legislative boundaries the legislature and governor adopted back in 2011. The court ruled that such plaintiffs did not have adequate standing to bring a statewide lawsuit.

The court did issue some orders, however, that will make later political gerrymandering suits more difficult to bring because certain technical standards must now be met in future action. As part of the plaintiffs’ standing ruling, the justices vacated the lower court ruling that ordered the state assembly districts re-drawn. It is now likely that political boundaries around the country are finally set for the 2018 election.

Future cases could cause the court to issue more definitive rulings in advance of the 2020 census and subsequent national redistricting effort that the states will undertake in 2021, but it appears the status quo will continue through the short-term.

Missouri Senate

Former Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who was forced to resign from office in late May in order to avoid felony charges relating to an extra-marital affair, may not be done with politics. He made a statement Monday saying he is considering entering the US Senate race as an Independent.

The move is clearly aimed at Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) who assumed a major role in working with St. Louis County law enforcement officials to prosecute the governor. Hawley has endured attacks from multiple vantage points regarding his actions related to the Greitens’ case, with some saying he was too harsh in his treatment of the now-former governor, and others believing he was too lenient.

Clearly, if Greitens were to enter the Senate race his motivation would be to exact revenge against Hawley, thinking that he could take enough Republican votes away from the attorney general to almost assuredly cause his defeat against Sen. Claire McCaskill.

In any event the Greitens scandal, while destroying the former governor and Navy SEAL’s political career, has also hurt Hawley. A new Global Strategy Group poll for the Senate Majority PAC (Democratic) finds Sen. McCaskill (D) in her best position opposite AG Hawley, while the latter man’s favorability index has considerably worsened.

The survey (June 11-13; 804 likely Missouri voters) now projects Sen. McCaskill to be holding a 47-41 percent lead over Hawley, a departure over a series of previously released polls from March to mid-May that found the candidates tied, and separated by one, two, and four points.

According to GSG, Hawley’s personal favorability index is now an upside-down 21:29 percent positive to negative, and the slippage is clearly related to the Greitens situation. The last GSG Missouri survey, conducted April 9-12, found the attorney general with a 30:22 percent positive ratio. On the other hand, Sen. McCaskill recorded a mediocre 47:45 percent positive score in the current poll, virtually unchanged from the 46:44 percent index that was reported in April.

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