House Democrats’ path to a majority could go through the Supreme Court
When Democrats regained a majority in the House in 2018, they were helped by legal victories in previous years that produced more favorable cards for the party in Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Days after losing a majority this cycle, Democrats are considering a similar strategy to help them retake the House in 2024 — and this time around, the redistricting of prosecutions alone could put them in a position to erase Republicans’ fragile majority .
Democrats are suing to overturn congressional cards in six states they couldn’t defeat before the midterm elections: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. If the courts side with them, Democrats believe it could be the difference between majority and minority.
- “I certainly think that if we win the majority of these cases [and keep the seats they currently hold]Democrats would control the House of Representatives,” said Eric Holderthe former Attorney General who chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). “I don’t think there’s any question about it.”
Marina Jenkinsdirector of litigation and policy for the NDRC, estimated that the Democrats could win between nine and 13 seats if they win in all six cases – enough seats to overthrow the House.
Republicans say the strategy is doomed, especially after voters elected conservative state Supreme Court justices in Ohio and North Carolina.
“It makes perfect sense for Democrats to try and bring back their ‘lawsuit’ strategy, because it worked for them in the middle of the last decade,” said Adam Kincaidthe CEO of the National Republican Redistricting Trust. “But that failed in 2022. It was the first time the NRRT was there to push back against these liberal lawsuits.”
It’s no longer ‘one-and-done’
Democrats launched the NDRC in 2016 to exert greater control over the once-a-decade redistricting after Republicans dominated the process after the 2010 census. Republicans retaliated in 2017 by forming the NRRT.
In interviews, the chairman of the NDRC Kelly Burton and Holder credited the group’s efforts with helping to limit Republican gains in the House.
“Our redistricting strategy worked,” Holder said.
But Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic election lawyer, said it was misleading to think of redistricting as something that happens once a decade. Instead, it’s a never-ending legal battle.
- “Redistricting is no longer a one-size-fits-all phenomenon,” Elias said. “It’s an ongoing phenomenon that, as we’ve seen over the past decade, can have profound consequences as we move further and further into the decade.”
Redistricting lawsuits helped Democrats win nine House seats between 2010 and 2020, Elias said. If Democrats hadn’t filed those lawsuits, the party might not have retained its majority in the House in 2020.
Here are the six battlegrounds where Democrats’ most important redistricting trials are taking place:
- Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana: Three federal judges rejected Alabama’s new congressional map in January and ordered the state legislature to draw a new one that included two districts likely to elect black representatives – a win for Democrats – but the Supreme Court restored the map while Alabama appealed the decision. Similar cases in Louisiana and Georgia have been put on hold pending the outcome of the Alabama case, in which the Supreme Court heard arguments last month. If the court rules in favor of the Democrats, “I expect we’ll see other districts with minority opportunities in each of these three states,” Elias said — and possibly two in Georgia.
- Florida: Democrats are suing under federal and state law in Florida, where the Republican Govt. Ron DeSantisthe map scrapped a neighborhood connecting Tallahassee and Jacksonville to a large population of black voters. The new map has hit Democrats hard, reducing the number of neighborhoods that President Biden increased in 2020 from 12 to 8 — but the state could be tough legal ground for Democrats. “Florida is a very uphill battle, and we’re lucid about it because of the hostility of the justice system in that state,” Jenkins said.
- Ohio: The state Supreme Court rejected new maps drawn by the state’s Republican-led redistricting commission in July and ordered commissioners to draw a new one by Aug. 18. They did not do it. Ohio Republicans appealed last month before the United States Supreme Court, which has yet to agree to hear the case.
- Texas: It’s the most convoluted legal landscape of any state Democrats are fighting in, and it’s unclear when the lawsuits will be resolved or how many more competitive seats they could give up if Democrats win. “I’m hesitant to hazard a guess because this is such a dynamic situation in that so many different groups are arguing and asking for different kinds of relief,” Elias said.
Kincaid does not expect the maps of Ohio — where Democrats won a midterm seat — to improve for Democrats if redrawn. He defended the cards in the other states and warned that any victory the Democrats win in court could backfire.
- “If the Supreme Court passes a sweeping new application of the Voting Rights Act [in the Alabama case]we expect to bring significant offensive litigation in places where Democrats have drawn maps,” Kincaid said, though he declined to specify where.
If the Democrats win in Texas, he added, “they could open up the map for a more Republican-friendly map than what we have now.”
Michael Lisenior counsel at Brennan Center for justice who is an expert on redistricting, agreed that Democrats could win up to a dozen House seats if they win in all six states. But he also agreed with Kincaid that Republicans in Texas could draw a worse map for Democrats than the current map if the plaintiffs win. The same is true in North Carolina, he added, where the current map is to be redrawn before 2024 and where Republicans this month took control of the State Supreme Court.
Rep. Friend Bera (D-Calif.), one of two lawmakers vying to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeesaid suspect Representative Richard Hudson (RN.C.), the new president of the Republican National Congress Committeewould be particularly interested in maps of his home country.
“We better fight tooth and nail and use all the legal tools we can use, but also prepare our candidates to defend themselves,” Bera said.
Harris’ visit to Philippine islands could escalate tensions with China
Vice President Harris concluded his week-long trip through Asia today on the Philippine island of Palawan.
The trip brought Harris to the edge of the disputed South China Sea and could increase tensions with Beijing soon after. President Biden recently met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
“China has claimed a majority of the South China Sea, and the Philippines has filed diplomatic protests against China’s maritime activities in the region, as local fishing communities have reported declining fish availability and a displacement of their traditional fishing grounds amid Chinese Coast Guard hostilities,” our colleague Meryl Kornfield, who is on the trip, reports.
Harris used the trip to reaffirm strong US-Philippine ties and signal his support for the country in its disputes with China.
“So, to all of you here today, I say: the US-Philippine alliance is strong. We are committed to you. We are dedicated to your success. And to all the lives and livelihoods that depend on your work,” she said in a speech on Tuesday aboard a Philippine Coast Guard vessel.
Senator Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) will appear before a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia today regarding his telephone conversation with the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R). Graham asked Raffensperger to ‘review some absentee ballots’ in the state to ‘explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome’ for the former president donald trump after losing to Biden, per the subpoena.
The long-awaited testimony comes after Graham, who called the conversation “legislative fact-finding,” repeatedly tried to block the subpoena. The jurors have already heard Rudy Giulani and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Former White House Chief of Staff mark the meadowsformer national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were also ordered to testify but repel.
Hundreds of mass shootings in 2022, visualized: “There have been more than 600 mass shootings so far this year in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archives“, by our colleagues Julia Ledur and Kate Rabinowitz. “At least five people were killed and 18 others injured in a shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, this weekend. It occurs less than a week after a filming at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville resulted in three deaths.
- “Mass shootings – where four or more people, not including the shooter, are injured or killed – have averaged more than one a day so far this year. Not a single week in 2022 has gone by without at least four mass shootings.
There was a ROAST session at the White House 🦃
Close. Biden busts the jokes during the traditional turkey pardon ceremony:
“The votes are on… there’s no ballot stuffing, there’s no ‘poultry’ game – the only ‘red wave’ this season will be a German Shepherd, commanding, knocking down cranberry sauce on our table” pic.twitter.com/XKucVuJGcR
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 21, 2022