RELEASE: Voting Rights further diminished in SCOTUS ruling on partisan gerrymandering
WASHINGTON – Today the Supreme Court issued rulings in partisan gerrymandering cases from Maryland and North Carolina, holding that partisan gerrymandering present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts. These cases considered whether the drawing of congressional districts violated the Constitution’s Elections Clause, the First Amendment, or the Equal Protection Clause.
“Extreme partisan gerrymandering, which dilutes the votes of persons belonging to a particular political party and degrades their right to vote, cannot be squared with the text and history of the Constitution,” Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra said. “This decision minimizes voting power as the cornerstone of our democracy.”
The Supreme Court agreed to hear cases Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek in January 2019. March 2018, CAC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of appellees arguing that partisan gerrymandering subordinates adherents of one political party and violates the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of political association and equal protection for all persons, regardless of their political identity.
“Under our Constitution, voters choose their elected representatives, not the other way around,” CAC Director of the Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program, David Gans said. “This Supreme Court Term, the Roberts Court, once again, has betrayed our Constitution’s promise of democracy and turned its back on the Court’s historic role in checking government abuse of power. The Supreme Court has given states the greenlight to draw district lines that lock up the political process for the party in power.”
CAC’s brief explained the Framers wrote democratic principles into numerous aspects of the Constitution. Buttressing our Constitution’s commitment to popular sovereignty and self-governance, the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to associate for political ends and the Fourteenth Amendment ensures that all Americans enjoy equal protection of the laws regardless of political affiliation.
For more information on CAC’s involvement with these cases visit our website.