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John Rennie Short
What comes next?
Supreme Court Says Gerrymandering Fix up to Voters, Not Judges
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.
The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.
“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.”
So for now, partisan gerrymandering, in which politicians get to choose their voters rather than voters choose their representatives, will remain a fact of American political life.
What is the background to this decision? And what does the decision mean for democracy in the U.S.?
Cracking and packing
State legislatures have the constitutional responsibility to draw up the boundaries of congressional seats after the results of the census, which is conducted every 10 years.