The U.S. Supreme Court will consider two cases of alleged gerrymandering in Maryland and North Carolina, The Economist reports.
The court will hear arguments in March concerning a Maryland map, which previously appeared before the Supreme Court in a case last year, and one from North Carolina. In Lamone v. Benisek, Republican voters in Maryland allege that Democratic state lawmakers retaliated against voters who supported longtime GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett by redrawing his district in 2011. Bartlett won by 28 points in 2010 before losing to a Democrat by 21 points in 2012.
The other case, Rucho v. Common Cause, appeals a decision made by a three-judge Federal District Court panel in North Carolina last August. The judges ruled that GOP lawmakers had violated the constitution after redrawing districts in an attempt to prevent Democrats from winning elections, though the court stayed its decision.
“Whether it is Democrats or Republicans manipulating the election maps, gerrymanders cheat voters out of true representation,” Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn said in a statement to The New York Times. “The Supreme Court has the opportunity to set a clear standard that will restore a meaningful vote to millions of Americans disenfranchised by gerrymanders in Maryland, North Carolina and across the country.”
“If the Supreme Court fails to set limits on this undemocratic practice,” attorney Paul M. Smith of the Campaign Legal Center told the Times last week, “we will see a festival of copycat gerrymandering in 2020 the likes of which the country has never seen before.”
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