On Tuesday, the US supreme court hears oral arguments in Gill v Whitford. This will open the door for a potentially precedent-setting ruling on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering – the process of redrawing electoral districts in order to favor one party over another. The past several years have seen a new level of hyper-partisan gerrymandering that defies voters and has subverted our democracy. Thus far, however, the court has refused to rule on the constitutionality of this political ploy, deferring instead to the political process. The result is a system that demands immediate course correction. While there is progress to be made at the state level, in today’s political climate, the supreme court is best poised to demand the needed course correction before this illegitimate political ploy further distorts our elections.
The idea of drawing district lines to benefit one party or the other is not new. However, a confluence of specific events over the past decade has made gerrymandering a lethal science to our democratic legitimacy.
Those events include the 2010 Citizens United ruling that unleashed record amounts of dark money into our elections; the 2013 Shelby County v Holder ruling that undid a central pillar of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and innovations in computer programming.