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Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering

Don't expect much from Supreme Court on partisan redistricting

January 8th, 2019 by Gazette Staff in Opinion Editorial

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in two cases that seek to determine just how big a role partisan politics can play in drawing district lines.

One case comes from North Carolina, in which plaintiffs allege Republican lawmakers' gerrymandering violates the First Amendment rights of non-Republicans by essentially canceling out their votes.

The other cases comes from Maryland, where Republicans accuse Democrats of doing the same.

The U.S. Constitution requires reapportioning the number of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives from each state by population every 10 years, following the national census. Later federal legislation required single-member congressional districts. This was done to make sure each district has roughly an equal population and ensure—as best can be done—equal representation.

The Constitution doesn't require districts per se or mandate that political parties must have any role in redistricting. It's maddeningly vague on that. It lets the states come up with their own
system.

And that means in most states—including Texas and Arkansas, for example—the party in power moves the lines around to ensure as much of an advantage for their candidates as humanly possible. This is called gerrymandering and it has always been a much bigger—and more genuine— problem for election integrity than all the rumored dead people voting, illegal aliens, and ballot box stuffing combined.

These days, in a red state like Texas, Republican lawmakers discriminate against likely Democratic voters. Just like Democrats tried to marginalize Republican voters when they controlled the state Legislature. So the problem isn't Democrats or Republicans. The problem is partisan politics over the public good.

We doubt that will change much. Each state makes its own rules and it's hard to imagine any party in power voluntarily giving up such an advantage. The nation's highest court might come up with something to make the process a bit less political and more for the people, but they are
usually loathe to step into politics that deeply.

Some might say the people could demand change in their own interest. But it seems they only see a problem when the other side is in control.

Fairness, it seems, is doomed to take a backseat to politics.

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