Supreme Court puts gerrymandering in the spotlight

The Supreme Court is hearing a case that could decide how every voting district in the United States is mapped out in the future.

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 10:16 AM

(NBC News) For the second time this term the Supreme Court is considering whether it's unconstitutional for states to draw the boundary lines for voting districts in a blatantly partisan manner.

On Wednesday the court heard from a group of Republican voters in Maryland who argued a Congressional district was intentionally carved up by Democrats to get an electoral edge.

The 6th District had been represented by a Republican for 20 years, until a 2011 redrawing by state Democrats created a 90,000 voter swing in favor of registered Democrats.

A lawyer for the Republican voters argued the move was simply about rigging future elections to achieve a partisan result.

"Democrats in Annapolis disapproved of the way Republicans in the 6th Congressional District had voted and for that reason set out to make it impossible for them to achieve electoral success moving forward," said attorney Michael Kimberly.

The state of Maryland has argued the district was dominated by Democrats until redistricting in 1991, and that the Republican plaintiffs are just trying to perpetuate a status quo which could prevent any kind of redistricting from surviving scrutiny.

Gerrymandering is not an easy issue for justices to decide.

"It's not enough to say 'this map stinks,' you have to say 'and here's the way to redraw it'...that's been a real problem for the justices," says University of Baltimore law professor Garrett Epps.

Earlier this term the Supreme Court heard a Wisconsin case after a ruling that 2011 redrawn maps by the Republican-controlled legislature were so blatantly partisan they denied Democrats a fair shot at winning.

Read more: https://nbcnews.to/2GfWWhb

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