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TWO VIEWS: Gerrymandering is inevitable in a democracy

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23.09.2021

With the Census Bureau finally releasing its population data to the states, they will now begin the process of redrawing political boundaries for local, state and congressional seats. Anyone who believes that there is some magic way of keeping politics out of the redistricting process must still believe in the tooth fairy.

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Rucho v. Common Cause that partisan redistricting — where elected representatives from the majority political party draw boundary lines to try to give their party an advantage — is a political question beyond the reach of the federal courts. Moreover, the court pointed out that partisan redistricting is “nothing new.”

It was known “in the colonies prior to independence and the framers were familiar with it at the time of the drafting and ratification of the Constitution,” said the court. In fact, the term “gerrymandering” comes from Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry, whose name is forever linked to partisan map drawing due to a state senate district he drew in 1812 that looked like a salamander.

Yet the drafters of the Constitution still gave state legislatures the authority to draw congressional boundaries, showing that they expected politics to be part of........

© The Intelligencer


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