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It Looks Like the Supreme Court Isn't Going to Intervene in Gerrymandering Cases This Election Year

March 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

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They're befuddled. Justice Breyer even suggested all sides weigh in again, and another hearing be held.


One of the most anti-democratic features of the political landscape does not appear destined to change before 2018's midterm elections, even though extreme gerrymanders this week returned to the Supreme Court for the second time this term.

On Wednesday, liberal and conservative justices visibly struggled with how to rein in partisan gerrymanders in a Maryland case. But because the 2018 election is underway—and judges are hesitant to disrupt elections—and the earliest ruling is months away, it appears congressional maps in the most gerrymandered states will remain for 2018’s midterms.

The only exception appears to be Pennsylvania, whose state Supreme Court earlier this year threw out a Republican-authored map for its House districts for violating the state constitution. The court's expert created a new statewide map, giving Democrats chances to pick up several seats. (Top Republicans have called for impeaching the justices who ruled against them.)

But from a national perspective, Democrats seeking to regain a House majority will likely face the same anti-competitive districts that they have seen since 2012. Despite close statewide popular vote results, the GOP typically wins more seats.

“Because of maps designed to favor Republicans, Democrats would need to win by a nearly unprecedented nationwide margin in 2018 to gain control of the House of Representatives,” the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School said in an analysis released before the Court’s hearing. “To attain a bare majority, Democrats would likely have to win the national popular vote by nearly 11 points. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have won by such an overwhelming margin in decades. Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps.”

Maryland's Democratic Gerrymander

This week’s partisan gerrymandering case …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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