Groups wanting to flip control of the U.S. House of Representatives—or keep it in Republican hands—largely won’t benefit immediately from redistricting court decisions ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, election law scholars told Bloomberg Law. Partisan gerrymandering challenges—that is, challenges over how much a state can consider politics in drawing districts—have had historic success recently. Still, it will take several months or longer to sort out the flurry of cases moving through the courts, including the Supreme Court, and even longer to implement any changes. One big exception could be Pennsylvania following a surprise state-court ruling there that could benefit Democrats handsomely next fall if allowed to stand. But time is drawing short for states to redraw districts in other redistricting challenges.
“The closer we get to the elections, the more difficult it will be to remedy any maps that are held unconstitutional in time for the election,” Stuart Naifeh, of the Demos think tank in New York, told Bloomberg Law. Demos is involved in its own high court voting challenge over voter purges by Republicans in Ohio.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s focus in dealing with inequitable voting districts is to get it right for the long term, election law professor Richard L. Hasen, of the University of California at Irvine School of Law told Bloomberg Law. So they’re willing to put up with some inequitable voting districts in the short term, he said.