The Supreme Court seemed conflicted Wednesday about whether a Maryland man may proceed with his complaint that the redistricting process in the state is unconstitutionally partisan. Some justices were concerned that a single federal district judge had decided on his own to curtail Steve Shapiro’s lawsuit over Maryland’s much-criticized gerrymandered congressional map rather than send it to a special three-judge panel to see whether the complaint had merit. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Shapiro and his co-plaintiffs “want to raise about as important a question as you can imagine. . . . And if they are right, that would affect congressional districts and legislative districts throughout the nation.”
But other justices seemed concerned about further involving the court in the political machinations of redistricting, where the party in control of a legislature routinely draws congressional and legislative districts to its own advantage.
“This court has never seen [a political gerrymandering challenge] that it thought was justiciable,” said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., referring to a controversy over which the courts, rather than the political branches, can grant a remedy.