The Supreme Court ruled that federal courts must stay out of disputes regarding gerrymandering. Apparently, The Frederick News-Post believes the ends justify the means. I am referring to the comments made in their editorial this past Sunday.

In this editorial, the paper stated their disapproval of the decision. “So, we are faced with a practice that denies people their constitutional right to representation in government, but the court does not think it can do anything about it?” They ended the editorial with “This is the very real danger to our democracy that the conservative majority seems perfectly fine with. In our view, it’s cynicism at its worst.”

The U.S. Constitution clearly defines who has the power to change our election laws. In Article I, Section 4, it states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing [sic] Senators.”

I was deeply upset when the Maryland General Assembly gerrymandered the 6th District for the sole purpose of electing a Democrat. For those who do not remember, this seat had been held by Roscoe Bartlett for 20 years and he represented the interests of Frederick County. Our current representative, David Trone, lives in Montgomery County, as do the majority of the citizens he represents.

Should we be upset at the Supreme Court for simply adhering to our Constitution or our federal and state elected officials who are more interested in partisan politics than the interests of their constituents?

As an example, Ron Young, a Frederick County state senator, voted for the current gerrymandered District 6. He cared more about changing the seat from Republican to Democrat than having an individual elected to represent the interests of our county. He simply could not wait a few more years for the likelihood a Democrat would be elected as the demographics of our county were changing and Roscoe Bartlett’s age was becoming a factor.

In this case, the majority of the Supreme Court decided against making laws and instead did their job. While the Court in Marbury v. Madison, 1803, established a precedent for judicial review, there simply is no basis for the Supreme Court to legislate. Sometimes we may like and other times dislike the outcome; however, in the end we are all better off if we let our legislators make the laws and the Supreme Court limit their decision to assure laws passed are within the bounds of the Constitution.

Doug Kaplan

Frederick County

(23) comments

jsklinelga

SCOTUS acknowledged the politics of gerrymandering is under the purview of the Federal Congress. The letter clearly states this. But some have bemoaned why Congress will not pass legislation correcting the problems.That is a fair question especially considering this "problem" has existed since our country's inception.In the majority opinion a very pertinent observation was made ;" The question is one of degree: How to “provid[e] a standard for deciding how much partisan dominance is too much.” LULAC, 548 U. S., at 420 (opinion of Kennedy, " When an enlightened being can answer that question I suggest he forward it to their representatives.

Obadiah Plainsmen

"What does the Constitution say" ... About the Supreme Court? Not much. The question should be how did the least powerful branch of government as written in the Constitution, become the most powerful,sought after, and effective weapon in America.

DickD

It was so great to get rid of Roscoe.

marylandmirage

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

jsklinelga

AMEN. Mr. Kaplan. Judging from the comments in this paper an understanding of the Federal Judiciary's Constitutional authority is greatly misunderstood.The Federal Courts since 1803 have established their authority for Judicial review of Congressional laws. It has never been established by Amendment that the authority extends to judicial review of State laws involving their own citizenry without an act of Congress. It is only by SCOTUS' own interpretation that they granted themselves that authority. And this just within the last 50 to 70 years.. The 14th Amendment, so often cited by SCOTUS clearly states that Congress has the power to challenge State Laws infringing on certain liberties. Then SCOTUS would have the authority of Judicial review

public-redux

Here’s an upcoming SCOTUS case that should interest you. The Montana Constitution forbids public funding of religious schools. The state legislature passed a tax credit for people who donated money for scholarships to private schools. The law was challenged as an end run around the constitution because the vast majority of private schools are religious. Montana’s Supreme Court ruled the tax credit unconstitutional. Some folk on the religious side appealed to SCOTUS, which has granted cert to hear the case.

It will be interesting to see just how committed this SCOTUS is to respecting state law. My own guess is that there will be at least 4 votes for the religious school side (Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Mr. Incorporation Is Wrong Except When It Isn’t Thomas).

https://kpax.com/news/montana-news/2018/12/12/montana-supreme-court-strikes-down-tax-credit-that-aids-religious-schools/

jsklinelga

public-redux If SCOTUS would accept that case I am sure there would be a minor uprising in the conservative ranks. The people in this country, as a whole, have no right to interfere in Montana politics, especially concerning religion. The Constitution forbids that. It is simple.

public-redux

The people you describe as “conservative” cheered SCOTUS in the Trinity Lutheran Church case. In that case, SCOTUS ruled against the state of Missouri whose constitution says “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion”. SCOTUS said Missouri had to give money to Trinity Lutheran Church for playground equipment. Your anti-incorporation hero Thomas concurred in everything except footnote 3 because he thinks it unconstitutional in the US for states to permit to accept even a mild form of discrimination against religion.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Lutheran_Church_of_Columbia,_Inc._v._Comer

public-redux

I don’t see any uprising. https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/press-release-heartland-institute-experts-react-to-trinity-lutheran-church-victory-at-supreme-court

public-redux

The Christian Post published a story with 5 reactions to the Trinity decision. Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, and the Catholic Association all praised SCOTUS for quashing Missouri’s prohibition against using public monies to support religion. ACLU and the Center for Inquiry criticized it.

Who are the conservatives that you think will criticize SCOTUS if it interferes with Montana?

https://www.christianpost.com/news/reactions-supreme-court-churches-government-aid-trinity-lutheran.html?page=1

jsklinelga

public i said minor uprising. In the past 30 years multiple cases involving similar issues have been ruled upon by SCOTUS. The court is changing but it must hold some preference for precedence. It will be an interesting decision.

public-redux

Can you identify any conservatives who criticized the Trinity case (besides me, obviously). Or is this uprising so minor that it is undetectable?

jsklinelga

public You expressed reasonable questions. With only "reply" options available it is hard to carry on this conversation. In the future, possibly.

public-redux

And you appear to be are avoiding those reasonable questions. Is this one of your “discussion is futile” dodges?

Here is another reasonable question that doesn’t require any research and can be answered in a sentence or two. What led you to say that there would be a “minor uprising in the conservative ranks”? You obviously had something in mind.

jsklinelga

public No dodge. Trinity starts to unravel decades of establishment rulings. The Montana case may continue that trend. Justice Thomas' recent opinions may be indicative of the minor uprising I mentioned. Instead of blanket tossing out many precedents the court may systematically overturn many past decisions. Until we see the reasoning and any decision in the Montana case the conversation is merely speculative at best.

phydeaux994

jsk, you are such a phony. Your 10:52am response is your typical indecipherable psychobabble reply to a question that would expose your fraud. MAWA

public-redux

Jsk, your 1:58 response completely contradicts your previous argument. You are now arguing that SCOTUS overruling Missouri in the Trinity case is somehow a victory for rolling back incorporation? And that if the Montana case takes the same path that will be a good thing rather than cause a minor uprising? You understand that Thomas favors incorporation on religious issues, right? And that contradicts your 7:33 assertion that the Constitution forbids what you celebrate Thomas for saying.

DickD

So, you think Congress should act to end gerrymandering, Jim? I am all for that.

jsklinelga

DickD That would be the proper place. Then SCOTUS could determine the Constitutionality of the law via judicial review.

DickD

Do you think McConnell will allow a Senate vote? And if he doesn't, what does that say about conservatives?

public-redux

Dick, it says that McConnell goes by the credo “might makes right”. Some people say “Rights are subject to majority” or words to that effect.

gary4books

DickD - [thumbup][thumbup]

DickD

Thank you, Gary. I see Jim didn't answer - so far anyway and he has so much to say - most of the time.

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