The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that federal courts have no constitutional role to play in preventing partisan gerrymandering. The decision highlights the increasing importance of systemic reforms, like multi-winner ranked choice voting, that put representation directly into the hands of voters, rather than in the hands of those who draw the maps.
The case, Rucho v. Common Cause, asked the Court to confront admitted partisan gerrymanders in North Carolina and Maryland. A member of North Carolina’s General Assembly redistricting committee, which drew one of the maps under scrutiny, had explained: “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”
Rucho consolidated challenges to this North Carolina map with a lawsuit against a Democrat-drawn map in Maryland. The Republican Congressman who filed the Maryland suit enjoyed a 21 percentage point victory in 2010, before redistricting, but a 28 percentage point loss in 2012.
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