Supreme Court Rules that States and Congress Should Handle Gerrymandering; Says Federal Government Doesn’t Have ‘Constitutional Authority’

  • The Supreme Court sent the issue of gerrymandering back to Congress and the states to decide with the justices ruling “the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to regulate state election maps.”
  • The 5-4 decision came down to ideology with conservatives forming the majority on the ruling.
  • Some believe the ruling will result in elections becoming less competitive, and “the Supreme Court may have emboldened regional lawmakers to carry out partisan mapping after the next census is complete.”
  • Liberal justices believe that gerrymandering hurts democracy and Justice Elena Kagan wrote: “Is this how American democracy is supposed to work?”
  • The Supreme Court looked at two cases brought by plaintiffs and voters in Maryland and North Carolina who “sued the states for district maps they claimed were unconstitutional.”
  • North Carolina plaintiffs said redistricting was discriminatory towards Democrats, and in Maryland, the plaintiffs said that Republicans were being discriminated against.
  • All plaintiffs said that gerrymandering is in violation of the Constitution and individuals’ rights must be protected.
  • A Republican on a North Carolina re-districting committee said: “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”
  • According to the liberal justices, “these mapping efforts led to Republican candidates winning 10 of North Carolina’s 13 seats while receiving 53% of the statewide vote in 2016, and nine out of 12 seats with 50% of the vote in 2018.”
  • Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley admitted that “he decided to create a map that was more favorable for Democrats over the next 10 years.”
  • With re-districting, “Maryland Democrats have won seven out of eight congressional seats despite never having more than 65% of the statewide vote.”

Reference Links

  • BBC: Supreme Court: Federal judges cannot block gerrymandering READ
  • Fox: Carrie Severino: Supreme Court’s gerrymandering decision has one big winner READ
  • The Hill: Supreme Court finds that courts can’t rule on partisan gerrymandering cases READ
  • TIME: The Supreme Court’s Latest Decision Could Embolden Partisan Gerrymandering | TIME WATCH

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