US Supreme Court agrees to hear potentially landmark case on partisan gerrymandering

The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a lawsuit from Wisconsin challenging the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering. The case could be crucial to finally ending gerrymandering across the nation.

That’s because while various court rulings have made it clear that racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional, the US Supreme Court has not yet made a decisive ruling on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering.

As such, partisan gerrymandering has been seen as the last refuge of politicians who want to manipulate voting maps at the expense of fair and competitive elections.

That was evident last year in North Carolina, when state lawmakers were ordered by a federal court to redraw the state’s racially gerrymandered congressional districts.

In response to that ruling, Republican lawmakers led by Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) crafted new congressional districts that they claimed would not consider race at all. Instead, legislative leaders openly boasted they would gerrymander purely along partisan lines to unfairly give Republicans maximum advantage, as Lewis is shown doing in the video below.

Lawmakers said they ignored race in redrawing the state’s congressional districts and focused solely on party affiliation, yet the result is the same: divided communities and rigged elections that continue to deny North Carolina voters of their constitutional right to have a voice in choosing their representatives.

And that’s why court challenges to partisan gerrymandering are so important. Just as the Wisconsin case makes its way to the US Supreme Court, the case of Common Cause v. Rucho heads to trial at a federal courthouse in Greensboro this summer, challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering scheme.

Other suits are also underway in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Together, these challenges to partisan gerrymandering could signal that ending gerrymandering of all kinds may finally be on the horizon.

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