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Supreme Court Decides Against Getting Involved In Gerrymandering Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court could have issued landmark opinions against partisan gerrymanders — one from each political party. It didn't.
Posted at 11:52 AM, Jun 18, 2018

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against intervening in two high-profile partisan gerrymanders — a Democratic gerrymander in Maryland and a Republican gerrymander in Wisconsin.

In the Maryland case Benisek v. Lamone, plaintiffs had argued election officials shouldn't hold congressional elections under districting maps drawn in 2011 after the 2010 census. A lower court denied the injunction plaintiffs were seeking, and SCOTUS ruled the lower court was justified.

In the Wisconsin case Gill v. Whitford, SCOTUS ruled in part based on the injury to each voter caused by statewide redistricting that favored Republicans. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: "That harm arises from the particular composition of the voter’s own district, which causes his vote—having been packed or cracked—to carry less weight than it would carry in another, hypothetical district. Remedying the individual voter’s harm, therefore, does not necessarily require restructuring all of the State’s legislative districts." 

In Newsy's ongoing series "Ask the Experts," Professor Jay Dow of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy says the court was loathe to rule on partisan gerrymandering for several reasons, and voters in some parts of the country have already found local solutions to gerrymandering.