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SCOTUS on GERRYMANDERING; Will STAY OUT of Partisan Redistricting

In a 5-4 Decision the Supreme Court sends the issue of redistricting back to the states.

SCOTUS on GERRYMANDERING; Will STAY OUT of Partisan Redistricting 1 Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In a 5-4 Decision, the Supreme Court sends the issue of redistricting back to the states. Justice Kagan read the dissent in which she criticizes the majority’s opinion: “For the first time ever, this Court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities.”

The Court’s decision to withdraw from partisan gerrymandering cases means any claims of partisan gerrymandering, meaning manipulating district lines and boundaries for partisan advantage is unable to appeal to the Supreme Court and must be handled at the state level.

Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the majority opinion of the Court saying “Partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” He also takes aim at Justice Kagan’s accusation that for the Federal Court to stay out of gerrymandering represents a failure of duty.

He wrote, “No one can accuse this Court of having a crabbed view of the reach of its competence…But we have no commission to allocate political power and influence in the absence of a constitutional directive or legal standards to guide us in the exercise of such authority.”

Justice Kagan read her dissent from the bench instead of releasing it in written form, which appears to be a statement in and of itself. She read “Of all times to abandon the Court’s duty to declare the law this was not the one.

The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections. With respect but deep sadness, I dissent.”