Supreme Court Dismisses Michigan Gerrymandering Case

Supreme Court Dismisses Michigan Gerrymandering Case October 22, 2019

As expected, the Supreme Court has thrown out an appeals court ruling that required Michigan to redraw its legislative maps after finding that the Republicans had gerrymandered the districts for maximum political damage. This was expected because the Court ruled in June that the courts had no authority to intervene in political gerrymandering (as opposed to racial gerrymandering).

The U.S. Supreme Court has tossed out a lower court ruling that would have forced a substantial redrawing of Michigan’s congressional and state legislative voting maps in a bid to give Republicans less of an edge.

The one-sentence order issued Monday was expected after the high court’s June 27 decision that upheld a Republican-drawn congressional map in North Carolina and Democratic-drawn voting lines in Maryland.

In the 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the conservative majority that gerrymander claims involve “political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.”

The decision effectively insulated gerrymanders from federal court challenges.

Yep. Which is why it’s now time to turn to the state courts and to passing popular referendums establishing independent redistricting commissions. Michigan already did that, but it won’t take effect until after the 2020 census. This case sought to require the redrawing of the maps in the 2020 election. The Republicans in the state have filed a lawsuit against that referendum as well, but it’s unlikely to succeed. We’ve got some momentum on our side when it comes to combating gerrymandering, despite the Supreme Court ruling that eliminated federal court intervention in such cases. At the state level, things are moving on multiple fronts and several states have passed laws requiring independent redistricting commissions to draw the maps rather than partisan legislatures.

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