A Look at the Gerrymandering Lawsuits Pending in a Handful of States

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court, along with judges in a dozen or so other states, has been considering issues of gerrymandering. The courts have primarily questioned whether mapmakers have gone too far by manipulating legislative district boundaries for the advantage of a preferred political party.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a case that alleged unconstitutional racial gerrymandering in Virginia. The argument was based on how the Republican-led Legislature mapped out some of the state House districts. This past Tuesday, the Court also heard oral arguments about two other cases that alleged unconstitutional political gerrymandering. One of the cases argues that Democrats in Maryland gerrymandered a U.S. House district to enable the defeat of a Republican incumbent. The other case presented an argument of gerrymandering with respect to the North Carolina congressional map, with Republicans within the state attempting to give their preferred candidates better chances of winning seats.

On top of these three states, there are also pending redistricting lawsuits in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. The lawsuits challenge districts that were drawn based off of data from the 2010 Census. If successful, their aim would be to force new district boundaries in advance of the next legislative elections. These cases could also establish precedents that states would be required to follow during the next round of mandatory redistricting, set to take place after the 2020 Census.

Additional Reading

Gerrymandering Lawsuits are Pending in a Dozen States, U.S. News & World Report, March 21, 2019

The Supreme Court Could Green-Light Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering, Mother Jones, March 25, 2019

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