Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Landmark Redistricting Case Challenging Partisan Gerrymander

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  • David Vance

The Supreme Court’s decision this morning to hear Gill v. Whitford is good news for the millions of Americans currently being denied the right to elect representatives of their choosing thanks to partisan gerrymandering. By upholding the decision of a three-judge federal panel that the Wisconsin State Assembly map legislators approved following the 2010 census is an illegal partisan gerrymander the Court can end the excessive partisan manipulation of district lines across the country. Common Cause v. Rucho, a challenge to North Carolina’s congressional map on partisan grounds, is also making its way through the courts and will be heard by a three-judge panel on June 26.

Although federal courts have previously ruled that maps violated the Constitution due to illegal racial gerrymandering, this is the first ever federal ruling that a single-member district plan was drawn illegally for partisan advantage.

“For too long, the important task of redistricting has resembled a back-alley brawl: no rules, no referees, and no holds barred,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause National Redistricting Manager. “Technology has made it easier than ever for self-interested legislators to manipulate districts for political advantage, so it is essential that courts step in to protect voters’ fundamental constitutional rights.”

“Partisan and racial gerrymanders drive too many Americans from our democratic process because citizens feel their votes don’t count and sadly in states like Wisconsin and North Carolina today many of those citizens are absolutely right,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Politicians should not be choosing their voters, voters should be choosing their politicians because that is democracy as the Founders intended it.”

The Supreme Court is likely to hear oral arguments in Gill this fall. Common Cause is collaborating with the Campaign Legal Center, which is litigating Gill, and the Brennan Center for Justice on the organizing of amicus briefs.