There are many reasons to oppose redistricting. What is redistricting? – all about redistricting is discussed in this article. Generally, redistricting violates the U.S. Constitution, and it’s highly politicized. However, a redistricting commission will often draw better lines than legislators. Here are a few reasons to oppose redistricting. First, it’s an unconstitutional form of political gerrymandering. Second, it is often the work of special interests.
Commissions are more successful at drawing the lines than legislatures.
Commissions have traditionally been more effective at drawing congressional and state district boundaries than legislators, although the difference is minimal. In California, voters enacted a 14-member commission in 2008 to draw legislative maps. Unfortunately, they also gave it the responsibility of drawing congressional district boundaries two years later. When drawing legislative maps, commission members are instructed to disregard incumbent protection and home addresses to draw compact districts with stable political jurisdictions.
Although redistricting is a complicated process, nonpartisan commissions tend to put voters’ interests above those of legislators. Nonpartisan commissions have a better track record, and many federal courts prefer them. In fact, in the past two years, the Supreme Court rejected two high-profile partisan challenges in Arizona and Texas. Federal courts sent back partisan maps in North Carolina and Texas this year. In Wisconsin, a state court condemned districts that artificially favored Republicans. It cited a newly developed mathematical measure to prove partisanship.
Gerrymandering is a form of political gerrymandering.
Partisan gerrymandering is a particular type of partisan gerrymandering, but this method of political gerrymandering is not a thing of the past. Some cases of partisan gerrymandering have even reached the Supreme Court. In the case of Indiana, for example, Democrats complained about a 1981 redistricting plan, but the court found it legal.
While Republicans were the primary beneficiaries of partisan gerrymandering in the past, Democrats have also used it to their advantage. In Maryland, for example, Democrats wiped out one of the state’s Republican congressional districts. Today, gerrymandered maps have a negative impact on elections. More Americans feel that their vote doesn’t matter in a rigged the election. Although gerrymandering affects all Americans, the consequences are most acutely felt in communities of color.
It violates the U.S. Constitution.
The Supreme Court weighs in on redistricting more often than in most other areas of federal law. There are already three cases before it in redistricting involving the VRA, and more will no doubt follow. One case in Alabama and litigation in Georgia and Texas allege that new district boundaries violate the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately, the Supreme Court must decide whether to hear the redistricting case.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of a judge in New York who ruled that the redistricting plan was a “partisan gerrymander.” However, it narrowed the case. Now, the case will go to the New York Court of Appeals, a panel of seven Democratic governors. The case will move forward if the state Supreme Court rules against the petitioners.
It’s a politicized process.
Redistricting is a highly politicized process that alters the fairness of elections. District lines can be redrawn to favor a party, protect incumbent elected officials, or help or harm a certain demographic group. Abuse of redistricting is blamed for various political ills, from polarization to reduced voter turnout. Understanding redistricting is vital to understanding how much your vote matters. In general, redistricting begins with the federal census. This comprehensive population count determines the boundaries for congressional districts and other state and local districts. Redistricting is a complex process that begins with changing demographics.
The landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned racial discrimination in voting and required states with a history of discrimination to get Justice Department clearance before making changes to voting laws. However, state legislatures have the discretion to draw their districts and move them to advance political goals. Despite the dangers associated with gerrymandering, state legislatures often use redistricting as an opportunity to consolidate their political power.
It’s a perennial issue in the U.S. Supreme Court.
There is an ongoing debate over the ethical and political conduct of judges. The new, conservative majority has engaged in ostentatious partisanship and audacious abuse of the “shadow docket,” the procedural system for disposing emergency applications to circumvent the regular course of lower court review. Stephen Vladeck has documented the new majority’s shadow docket decisions and shown how they have produced law-changing blockbusters. The Alabama Republicans, for instance, have greenlighted the gerrymandering process.
While the current Supreme Court term has only recently begun, legal scholars from USC gathered to discuss the court’s future and dynamics and how to respond to the new members. One of the biggest changes this year is the addition of Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. While the majority of the court remains divided over constitutional issues, they have been able to agree on one thing, the need to protect free speech.