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Big-time GOP senator issues partisan gerrymandering broadside

There's a saying: Politics makes strange bedfellows. Many observers suggest President Trump's recent cooperation with Democratic leaders to get something done in Washington serves as a prime example of this. There are voices all along the political spectrum – left to right – decrying the deal-making efforts. A more balanced view is that such compromise is how things should get done.

At its core, the U.S. democratic system presumes compromise being in the best interest of the country. The foundation of our structure is the one person-one vote concept. The goal is to ensure every voice is honored and heard.

But there is a case coming up in the U.S. Supreme Court that claims that the ideal is intentionally being corrupted as a matter of Republican strategy. And no less than one-time GOP presidential candidate John McCain is among those encouraging the high court to end excessive partisan redistricting – also known as gerrymandering.

Specifically, the case challenges how the Republican-controlled legislature in Wisconsin redrew district lines after the 2010 census. One claim is that the methods followed had the specific intent of unfairly skewing things to favor the GOP in securing legislative power.

McCain, along with Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), recently submitted a brief in the case urging the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court decision rejecting Wisconsin's redistricting map as being unconstitutional. The senators say if allowed to stand, the partisan overreach means "wasted votes and silenced voices."

Some readers might wonder why we are weighing in on this issue. The answer is simple, tort reform. For the last 30 years, supporters of business and professional interests – most of whom are in the Republican camp -- have argued that the civil law system is hurting the nation's economy. It relies too much on juries who are ill equipped to understand the difficult issues in any given case. That results in too much money being awarded to victims for their pain and suffering. Reform supporters also don't like having to absorb awards intended to punish defendants for their negligent actions.

If excessive partisan redistricting is allowed to continue, advocates increase their chances of being able to pass their legislative agenda, even if that runs counter to the rights of individuals to have their day in court when they are victims of professional malpractice and negligence.

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