Anthony Kennedy is seen as the swing vote that could blunt GOP’s map-drawing successes
By Josh Gerstein | POLITICO
The Supreme Court wrestled Tuesday with a case that has the potential to halt or even reverse an increasingly common phenomenon of American political life: Republicans’ ability to tilt the political playing field in their favor through the tedious task of redrawing district lines.
The politically explosive high court fight over so-called partisan gerrymandering has the potential to radically reshape the political scene by thrusting courts across the country into the role of vetting district maps for excessive partisan bias.
Critics of that idea say judges are ill-suited to that complex task, while proponents say the practice of legislators essentially picking their voters has gotten out of control and is contributing to extreme political polarization by virtually eliminating competitive or toss-up districts.
The arguments Tuesday were tailored almost entirely to an audience of one: Justice Anthony Kennedy. He’s widely believed to be the only Republican-appointed justice who might side with the court’s Democratic appointees to invalidate a redistricting plan Wisconsin adopted for its state assembly in 2011.