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Supreme Court tells the judiciary to turn a blind eye to political gerrymandering.

June 27, 2019

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that claims challenging political gerrymandering are not based in “legal rights” and courts cannot resolve them. The ruling divided the Justices along ideological lines. The conservative wing took the majority, voting that resolving such claims are not within the province of the judiciary, and the liberal wing disagreed.

Political gerrymandering is a sly method that state officials may use to draw district lines so they can influence election results. When the party in control of the map-drawing process draws the lines to its own advantage to the detriment of the disfavored party, it engages in political gerrymandering.

The Supreme Court has accepted four cases in the past two years asking it to set a nationwide standard by which to evaluate political gerrymandering legal challenges. Last term, the Court declined to answer the question by issuing procedural rulings on the two cases (Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone).

The two cases this term asking the same question were Rucho v. Common Cause from North Carolina (alleging gerrymandering by Republicans) and Lamone v. Benisek from Maryland (alleging gerrymandering by Democrats). Finally, after years of uncertainty, the Justices ruled: It’s not our job to decide.

See the Supreme Court’s analysis in our full report.


In the News:

Check out our Gill v. Whitford graphic on NPR!

See Nina Totenberg of NPR's This Supreme Court Case Could Radically Reshape Politics (Oct. 3, 2017)!

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