Tag Archives: Partisan Gerrymandering

Will SCOTUS Redistricting Decision ‘Weaponize’ Federal Courts?

Hans von Spakovsky on the “political thicket” of partisan gerrymandering, the import of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wisconsin redistricting case Gill v. Whitford, and the risk of transforming federal courts “into weapons of political warfare.”

 

Under the Voting Rights Act, states are also in trouble if race is the predominant factor in their redistricting. But they are allowed to use some race in redistricting to comply with the VRA and protect minority voting rights. How much race they can use is unclear —- it has to be “just right,” which is why I call it the Goldilocks Rule of Redistricting.

 

Until now, however, the Supreme Court has stayed out of political gerrymandering as opposed to claims over racial gerrymandering or unequal populations in districts. The holding in the Wisconsin case violates prior precedent of the Supreme Court. . . .

 

Drawing up political districts is, by its very nature, a political exercise by the legislative branch. How could one possibly determine how much or how little politics is acceptable in the redistricting process? The Constitution says nothing about this at all, other than to give state legislatures the authority to draw not only their own state legislative districts, but congressional districts as well. . . .

 

In Cooper v. Harris, a North Carolina redistricting case that the Supreme Court decided on May 22, dissenting Justice Samuel Alito echoed Justice Frankfurter when he warned the Court against transforming the federal courts “into weapons of political warfare.” Otherwise, they will “invite the losers in the redistricting process to seek to obtain in court what they could not achieve in the political arena.”

 

That is exactly what is going on this case.