In his July 4 letter to the editor headlined “What does the Constitution say?” Doug Kaplan called out The Frederick News-Post for its earlier editorial regarding its disapproval of the Supreme Court’s recent gerrymandering decision. Mr. Kaplan, in supporting his views, wrote that “Apparently, The Frederick News-Post believes the end justifies the means,” and he carefully explained both legal history and factual context of the court’s decision.

In its editorial, The News-Post’s editorial board had strongly criticized the court and the conservative members of the court for not intervening to solve the perceived gerrymander problem in Maryland’s 6th District, even though the decision of the court was well-supported by the law. Such unjustified criticism of the court misleads many citizens and undermines their respect for the court. The Frederick News-Post editorial board members are also members of our community, and they have to be aware, as the rest of us are aware, that it is Maryland Democrats (not all Maryland Democrats) who were responsible for the gerrymander of the 6th District. It would be a positive for our community if these editorial board members would write honest, informative editorials and stop being so partisan!

John Chandler

Frederick

(19) comments

DickD

All states should cease gerrymandering.  It would be easy for the legislative branch to change the law, but that will not happen as long as Mitch McConnell controls the Senate and Trump is POTUS.  So, if you really want a change, vote against Trump and the Republicans. https://www.businessinsider.com/partisan-gerrymandering-has-benefited-republicans-more-than-democrats-2017-6"The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts.Traditional battlegrounds such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last Census in 2010."

gabrielshorn2013

Dick, It must be handled at the State, not Federal, level. TomWheatley below had the best answer. Take all party affiliations out of the numbers, and divide the populations into natural districts based on population density and natural boundaries. This is a simple fix. Let the districts fall out as they may.

DickD

I don't think so, Gabe. I liked Tom's answer, but it would be better if we passed a national law. I don't see where that is prohibited. As I see it we are not getting equal protection under the law now.  If we can pass an amendment to the Constitution once there is no reason we couldn't do it again.  But if we are going to do that, it would be better to eliminate the EC http://www.redistrictingonline.org/federalredistrictinglaw.html 14th AmendmentRedistricting became mandatory as a matter of federal law after the 1962 Supreme Court decision in Baker v. Carr,1 which interpreted the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to require that political districts be equal in population so that one person’s vote would not weigh more than a another person’s vote who resides in separate a district with substantially less population than the first. For example, a voter in a political district with 100,000 residents will have 3 times more voting power to elect a representative than a voter in a district with 300,000 residents. The court’s ruling is known as the “one man, one vote principle." Article 1, Sec 2 of the U.S. Constitution The census clause of the U.S. Constitution requires an actual enumeration of the country’s population on a decennial basis for purposes of congressional reapportionment of seats among the states. The Supreme Court held in 19992 that reapportionment must be carried out using the Census Bureau’s actual enumeration and not the statistically adjusted data that it also obtains. Whether or not this also applies to redistricting is still an open question but the Census Bureau and states have so far used the census actual enumeration data for redistricting purposes.  

gabrielshorn2013

I understand your position Dick. However, The number of Representatives IS proportional to the population in the states. It is the number of Senators per state that causes the issue that you object to. But remember, the number of Senators gives the smaller states PARITY with the larger states. If this were not so, the larger states could run roughshod over the smaller states, and there would have been no reason for the smaller states to ratify the Constitution, or join the Union.

jerseygrl42

Good luck John on your final sentence but folks who follow the news know that it was O'Malley and his buddies who took away the 6th from Frederick County and he is also the guy who took $100K from Covanta and the next day elevated burning trash to "Tier One Green" status thereby generating $$$millions in taxpayer paid credits to the burn industry...disgusting on both counts

DickD

Thank you Mr. O'Malley for ridding us of Roscoe.

gabrielshorn2013

Other than the ad-hominem based on political party, what didn't you like about Dr. Bartlett? You certainly can't disparage his advocacy on environmental issues including global warming (he talked about it long before it became chic to do so). Proponent of alternative energy sources like geothermal, solar, and wind? Financial responsibility and accountability in government?

DickD

Roscoe was not only good on alternative energy, but he also went down to West Virginia, about 45 miles west of Harrisonburg and built homes for all of his family. He uses solar power for his electricity. He had weird ideas on economics. For that matter, I don't think living on top of a mountain in isolation is weird too. His wife, Ellen should never have beenallowed to run for the County Council, she was just a rubber stamp for Blaine. But it was because she moved to W.Virginia a year or more before the elections that I objected. If she had of won there would have been challenges.

TomWheatley

I could write a really long LTE about gerrymandering, but the Supreme Court is right on this one. It is left to the States and unfortunately power hungry politicians. I have yet to see someone attempt to define "fair" without resorting to discussions of previous election results of the D and Rs. The independent folks and other parties are left out of the equations. I would prefer a simpler method of stripping all party information and supply a computer program with number of voters at a given address.Just do a simple density calculation along natural boundaries (not town borders for example) and one can come up with compact districts that don't look like salamanders wandering across the State to pick up the desired number of R or D votes.

gabrielshorn2013

Good response TW. Makes sense, and is the fairest solution of all.

DickD

That would take legislative action, Tom. As long as Mitch McConnell controls the Senate, if will not happen.

gabrielshorn2013

No Dick, it is handled at the State level. That was just the ruling by SCOTUS.

DickD

As I see it we are not getting equal protection under the law now.  If we can pass an amendment to the Constitution once there is no reason we couldn't do it again.  But if we are going to do that, it would be better to eliminate the EChttp://www.redistrictingonline.org/federalredistrictinglaw.html 14th AmendmentRedistricting became mandatory as a matter of federal law after the 1962 Supreme Court decision in Baker v. Carr,1 which interpreted the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to require that political districts be equal in population so that one person’s vote would not weigh more than a another person’s vote who resides in separate a district with substantially less population than the first. For example, a voter in a political district with 100,000 residents will have 3 times more voting power to elect a representative than a voter in a district with 300,000 residents. The court’s ruling is known as the “one man, one vote principle." Article 1, Sec 2 of the U.S. Constitution The census clause of the U.S. Constitution requires an actual enumeration of the country’s population on a decennial basis for purposes of congressional reapportionment of seats among the states. The Supreme Court held in 19992 that reapportionment must be carried out using the Census Bureau’s actual enumeration and not the statistically adjusted data that it also obtains. Whether or not this also applies to redistricting is still an open question but the Census Bureau and states have so far used the census actual enumeration data for redistricting purposes.  

hayduke2

And it means the end of the concept of " one man, one vote" which is the foundation of our constitution and republic. You are certainly not naive enough to believe that state legislatures will take this on when it means a loss of power, are you? The SC handcuffed lower courts and to expect voters to act and possibly give up their outsized influence is disingenous

gabrielshorn2013

Not at all hay. If you saw my previous posts, I stated that even though TW's proposal was the fairest, no politician will be willing to give up power in the interest of fairness. It is up to the citizens of any given state to develop enough support to put a referendum question on the statewide ballot. Once the ballot measure is approved, it forces the state legislature to develop such a plan. However, politicians in power can word the question to confuse the voters, as was seen in the original attempt to reconfigure the Gerrymandering done to the 6th district. People thought they were voting to put the 6th back the way it was, but in reality were voting to keep the Gerrymandered district as is.

gabrielshorn2013

BTW hay, from the very founding of our nation, the popular vote NEVER elected the President. The individual States do so. I have no problem with that.

hayduke2

Your last statement, while technically true because of the EC, isn't the last word. The popular vote and the person elected has occurred 40 out of 45 times. Might it just be saying something. https://www.factcheck.org/2008/03/presidents-winning-without-popular-vote/

public-redux

“...supply a computer program with number of voters at a given address.”

Replace the bolded word with “people” and I’d agree.

BunnyLou

My thought exactly, sir.

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