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Instead of ending gerrymandering, conservative SCOTUS could strike down independent redistricting commissions nation-wide.


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https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/supreme-court-will-rule-gerrymandering-md-and-nc/579550/

 

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The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to take up partisan gerrymandering cases from North Carolina and Maryland brought to mind a saying attributed to Judy Garland: Behind every cloud is another cloud.

 

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The now-firmly conservative Court likely took the cases not to announce that such activities violate the Constitution, but to reverse the lower courts that said they do. Down the road, the Court may do much more damage, including by preventing states from using independent commissions to draw congressional districts.

That’s not the only cloud on the horizon when it comes to the Court and redistricting. In a 2015 case out of Arizona, as I explained in more detail in a blog post for the Harvard Law Review, Kennedy joined in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s majority opinion holding that voters have the right to use a ballot initiative to establish independent redistricting commissions. But the Arizona legislature convinced Roberts—along with three conservatives—that because the Constitution gives the power to set congressional election rules to state “legislatures,” voters acting through the initiative process had unlawfully usurped legislative power. Roberts wrote an impassioned dissent.

 

If SCOTUS ever rules either in favour of partisan gerrymandering (or against independent commissions) then the US is truly done for. The GOP can cement a permanent minority-rule in most of the states.

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