Shortly, the oral arguments being made by the plaintiffs in the Wattson v. Simon case along with the intervenors, Peter Wattson, the lead is former Senate Counsel with significant involvement in past redistricting efforts); the Anderson Plaintiffs (represent the Republican Party’s interest); the Sachs Plaintiffs (represent the DFL Party’s interest); and the Corrie Plaintiffs (named so for lead plaintiff, Bruce Corrie, who advocate for maximum the representation for BIPOC communities).
All four parties have submitted maps to the court for consideration.
The empaneled judges are: Honorable Louise D. Bjorkman, presiding judge, Honorable Diane B. Bratvold, Honorable Jay D. Carlson, Honorable Juanita C. Freeman, and Honorable Jodi L. Williamson. Their political appointments and history have been discussed at length previously.
The proceedings can be viewed here https://mncourts.gov/livestream?id=55
During his efforts, Wattson has referred to the partisan swings in the other plans as per the existing officeholders and the proposed districts via a pendulum, where the weigh of the swing is dependent on partisanship. To this end, we are reminded of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum, rendering a Hobson’s Choice recognizing the is a downfall to the variety of decisions. In this case, it is the partisan divide.
In a state, which is operating with districts court decided upon a decade ago, has resulted in the only divided legislative body in the country. With the Congressional Districts split 4-4, the majority control in the House in the hands of the DFL, and the Republicans in the Senate, Minnesota appears to be a nearly 50/50 state. We argue it is not.
Since a Republican has not been elected statewide, and the collective margins have been far greater for DFL candidates in all elections, and when Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) was reelected by only 46.69% plurality.
The point is, it’s the maps and the political biases these maps put into play. In spite of the court directive, least change, which we oppose, the institutionalization of a pro-Republican political bias if least change is enforced, will continue to over balance in favor of a Republican Bias.
This is the very reason why our neighbors to the East, Wisconsin, this year put least change into their redistricting process.