U.S. Reps. Rod Blum, R-IA, and Alan Lowenthal, D-CA, joined Atlanta attorney Emmet Bondurant and Common Cause’s Marilyn Carpinteyro on Tuesday to brief reporters on the importance of independent redistricting and the current wave of legal challenges to partisan gerrymandering.
The hourlong discussion at the U.S. Capitol came as the Supreme Court prepared for next week’s scheduled hearing in Benisek v. Lamone, a challenge to the partisan gerrymandering by Democrats of a Maryland congressional district. The Benisek case is one of several redistricting suits pending or on their way to the high court. Last fall, the justices heard Gill v. Whitford, a challenge to Republican gerrymandered districts in Wisconsin; no decision has been announced.
While the justices have never overturned districts drawn on a partisan basis, they have suggested that partisan gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles and that they want to find a workable standard for determining when boundaries drawn for partisan advantage deprive voters of the right to elect representatives of their choice.
Bondurant, a member of Common Cause’s National Governing Board, is the lead attorney in Common Cause v. Rucho, a case decided in January by a three judge federal court in North Carolina. That court ruled that congressional districts fashioned by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature were deliberately drawn to disenfranchise Democratic voters and guarantee a 10-3 GOP majority in the state’s congressional delegation. Republicans have appealed the Rucho ruling but it has not been set for argument in the Supreme Court.
Issues: Voting and Elections