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A new Supreme Court case could rejigger electoral lines for the 2020 election

Published by The Economist on Thu, 22 Jun 2017


LATER this year the Supreme Court will hear a new spin on a scourge almost as old as the republic: partisan gerrymandering, a trick whereby politicians pick their voters rather than the other way around. In recent years, the justices have cracked down on districts that are drawn using predominantly racial lines. A ruling in 2015 held that Alabama violated the 14th amendment's equal-protection guarantee by packing too many black voters into state senate districts and diluting their influence in neighbouring areas. Last month, in Cooper v Harris, the court reprimanded North Carolina for doing the same in two bizarrely shaped legislative districts. But the justices have looked the other way when oddly drawn districts clump voters based on party rather than race. Partisan gerrymandering may be 'unsavoury', as Justice Samuel Alito puts it, but has not been held to offend the constitution.Gill v Whitford, one of the most important cases the justices will hear next term, calls Justice Alito's statement into...Continue reading
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