SCOTUS Rules: Gerrymandering to be Decided by States

The Supreme Court Thursday ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not a federal issue, and thus not reviewable by the nation’s highest court.

“We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his decision. “Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions.”

In a 5-4 decision along idealogical lines, the court concluded that decisions on gerrymandered voting districts must be left to the states to decide for themselves.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust. But the fact that such gerrymandering is ‘incompatible with democratic principles,’ does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary,” Roberts wrote.

Two states vying for political power caused the case to be brought before the Supreme Court. In Maryland, Democrats attempted to re-draw a congressional district that would essentially eliminate a GOP representative based on voter demographics. Republicans in North Carolina used the same tactic to eliminate a liberal representative.

“The opinion vacates previous rulings on the district maps in Maryland and North Carolina, and requests that the cases be dismissed ‘for lack of jurisdiction,’ according to The Hill.

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