When Maryland Democrats drew new U.S. House of Representatives district maps in 2011, long-time Republican voter Bill Eyler found himself removed from a conservative rural district and inserted into a liberal one encompassing Washington suburbs. Eyler, a retired business owner in the small town of Thurmont roughly 55 miles north of the U.S. capital, said he thinks he and others like him were being targeted by the Democrats because of their party affiliation. He was inserted into a Democratic-leaning congressional district in an electoral map that diminished the statewide clout of Republican voters. “There’s nothing we can do or say or vote that will make any difference,” Eyler said in an interview.
Eyler is one of nine Republican voters who pursued a legal challenge against a portion of Maryland’s electoral map. Their closely watched case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.
It is one of two major cases the nine justices are tackling during their current term concerning a practice called partisan gerrymandering in which a state’s majority party redraws legislative districts with the intent of tightening its grip on power. The justices on Oct. 3 heard a challenge by Democratic voters to Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn electoral map.