Supreme Court must step in on gerrymandering (The Washington Post)


In his June 22 op-ed, “Just how partisan is too partisan?,” Charles Lane asked, “can there be a partisan gerrymander with no gerrymandering?”

Unfortunately, that’s the wrong question. With today’s mapping abilities, partisans can draw districts that look nice to the naked eye but really are drawn to serve only partisan interests. University of Michigan political scientist Jowei Chen recently conducted 200 random simulations of mapping plans for Wisconsin. Not one was even half as skewed for partisan purposes as the one Wisconsin lawmakers enacted into law. What’s more, Mr. Chen found that “the enacted plan achieved this partisan outcome at the expense of traditional districting principles, splitting apart far more counties and municipalities than were necessary.”

With our elected representatives gaming the system more than ever, citizens’ fundamental right to have their votes count in a meaningful way is undermined. That’s exactly why the Supreme Court must step in and set outward bounds on how much citizens’ power can be diminished in the service of politicians’ desire to hold on to power. By setting such limits, the court would encourage restraint in our elected legislatures and bring us closer to a government of, by and for the people.

This piece was originally published on June 23rd, 2017 in The Washington Post.