Supreme Court justices often grouse about the political polarization and gridlock across the street in Congress. Now they have a chance to make it worse. The high court will hear a case Monday that could give partisan state legislatures sole authority to draw congressional districts, a task voters in several states have transferred to independent commissions. The case comes from Arizona, where Republican lawmakers want to take back the power to draw the district lines. If the court sides with them after agreeing to hear their appeal, the ruling would affect similar commissions in California and a handful of other states. Such a ruling “would consign states to the dysfunctionality of a system where politicians choose their voters rather than voters choosing their politicians,” says a brief filed by three national experts on redistricting.
It would be ironic coming from the Supreme Court, which spends much of its time trying to decipher the laws Congress writes. The justices have complained about the political “gerrymandering” process that leads to ever more non-competitive districts, but they have been unable to find a legal standard to limit how partisan the lines can be.
Those lines have grown ever more partisan. In 2012, Republicans won 53% of the vote but 72% of the House seats in states where they drew the lines; Democrats won 56% of the vote but 71% of the seats where they controlled the process.
Full Article: Supreme Court to decide who can draw maps for Congress.