Racial gerrymanders have been undone many times, most recently when the Supreme Court ruled against a pair of North Carolina congressional districts this week. But another case from that same state, heading into federal court next month, has a shot at eventually persuading the justices to do what they’ve never done before: strike down an election map as an unconstitutionally partisan gerrymander. The high court ruled three decades ago that it may be unconstitutional to draw political boundaries so that one party was sure to win a disproportionate number of elections, but it’s never come up with a means for deciding when such mapmaking has become too extreme. The new lawsuit involving North Carolina congressional districts stands to provide just such a rationale. That’s especially true if it ends up getting paired with a similar case involving Wisconsin’s state legislature districts, which the Supreme Court seems virtually certain to consider in its term beginning this fall.
Plaintiffs in both cases say the maps tilt election outcomes so much in favor of Republicans as to violate Democratic voters’ rights of free expression and equal protection. And they have united behind a pretty straightforward mathematical formula for illustrating how that’s so.
It’s a standard that, if adopted, would give the courts a method for deciding whether partisan gerrymandering has become excessive not only in the Wisconsin and North Carolina cases, but also during the nationwide surge of political cartography that will get started right after the 2020 census.
Full Article: Political Gerrymandering: Is There a Math Test for That?.