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Supreme Court Will Not Decide on Two Gerrymandering Cases
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Summary: The Supreme Court will not hear two cases concerning possible gerrymandering.

The Supreme Court stated on Monday that it would not hear two voter boundary line cases. The lawsuits claimed that two states violated the Constitution when they drew voter boundary lines based on political affiliations. According to NBC News, the rejection of the hearings dashed “the hopes of political reformers who were hoping for a landmark ruling that could change the future of American politics.”


The first case focused on the state of Wisconsin, and the Supreme Court said that the challengers did not show direct harm with the new boundary lines. The second case focused on voting in Maryland, and the Court said that the plaintiffs had waited too long to sue.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled on gerrymandering cases that were discriminatory by race. The plaintiffs of the two rejected cases were hoping that the justices would rule that discriminating by political party was unconstitutional, a thought that many lower courts have approved.

With Monday’s decision, it appears that there will be no federal judgment yet on how partisan politics will affect voter boundary lines.

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“The Supreme Court has kicked this can down the road for the umpteenth time in almost 50 years, unable to come up for a rule to determine how much politics is too much in drawing district lines,” said Tom Goldstein, publisher of the SCOTUSblog website. “And there’s no good sign that an answer is coming anytime soon.”

The Wisconsin case argued that Republicans put Democrats at a disadvantage by making a congressional district map that skewed towards a GOP victory. Conversely, the Maryland case was brought on by Republicans who thought that the Democrats were creating boundaries that made it impossible for a Republican to win in the state.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, had joined the plaintiffs, and he said that the Supreme Court decision was not the end for the fight to end “the war for fair districts.” He and other challengers said that politicians should not decide on outcomes using gerrymandering. Instead, voters should elect their own political leaders.

Monday’s two decisions were 9-0, and they were written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

“It is a case about group political interests, not individual legal rights,” Roberts wrote in the Wisconsin case. “But the Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences. The Court’s constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people before it.”

In the Wisconsin case, the Supreme Court did not weigh in on the voting lines’ legality, and the voter maps will be allowed for use in the next election, according to CNN. The Wisconsin case was sent back to lower courts, where the challengers will be given an opportunity to present new arguments.

CNN reported that a gerrymandering case in North Carolina may be sent up to the Supreme Court soon.

What do you think of the Supreme Court’s Monday decision? Let us know in the comments below.



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