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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Posted by Jake
Political Wire: Supreme Court to Referee Redistricting Battle

"Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court -- whose earlier decision in a redistricting case is responsible for some of the current turmoil -- is stepping in to referee the disputes," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The justices will hear arguments Wednesday on Pennsylvania's redistricting plan, enacted in January 2002 by a Republican-controlled legislature."

A Jeffrey Toobin piece in the New Yorker notes "the court seems to think that something has to be done" about partisan gerrymandering. "The court has long held that legislators may not discriminate on the basis of race in redistricting, but the question now before the court is whether, or to what extent, they may consider politics in defining congressional boundaries."

Meanwhile, there are new lawsuits filed in the Texas and Colorado redistricting battles.


I am interested to see how this plays out. Both parties have been eggregious offenders in the area of redistricting in the past. The incumbency reelection rate in the House has been increasing over the last couple years to an alarmingly high 98% in 2002. Clearly this is a black eye for democracy because the House is supposed to be the part of government most directly concerned with the people's interest, most volatile according to the people's will.

However, I am very curious to see how far the Supreme Court is willing to go to reproach erring states. This Supreme Court has been trending federalist, and I am curious to see whether they would be willing to demand fairer redistricting by fiat.

UPDATE: The people at OpinionJournal are apparently of a similar mind.


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