U.S. Supreme Court turns its back on gerrymandering! Again!

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decided in North Carolina’s Rucho v. Common Cause that the Court would not consider whether Congressional electoral maps are partisan gerrymanders. They claimed the question beyond their reach, that federal courts can only weigh in IF such maps are illegal racial gerrymanders. Essentially, they walked away.


Last week, in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the court took a walk again, this time leaving racial gerrymandering at the altar. Writing the majority decision, Justice Alito accused the plaintiffs of inferring bad faith in presuming the defendants used racial data when rigging maps, in lieu of political data. Evidently, he thought that an unfair slight. Never mind that foolish one person, one vote drivel. If you want to pick your voters by rigging elections using racial data, merely claim the data was partisan. From the New York Times, “The conservative majority, by a 6-3 vote, returned the case to the lower court, handing a victory to Republicans by allowing them to maintain boundaries that helped make the district in question a party stronghold.”


So, SCOTUS will not stand in the way of map-rigging. Here in North Carolina, neither will the state Supreme Court. Today, partisan distribution of seats in the U.S. House are split seven Democrats, seven Republicans. When the smoke clears from the November elections, that will shift to three Democrats and ten Republicans. The 14th seat leans Republican, but has a possibility of electing a Democrat.

What’s that mean? By the stroke of a pen on a map, the Republican party gained either three—and perhaps four—seats in Congress! Thirteen seats were decided in the primary elections. A single seat will be determined when votes are counted in November.

Democracy? Hardly! Is it any wonder that this Congress can accomplish so little of substance?


In the meantime, a working group from the North Carolina League of Women Voters continues to study how our state might implement a Citizen’s Initiative, a process that would empower We the People to force measures onto our ballots. Measures like creation of a Citizens’ Redistricting process that would permanently expunge gerrymandering at every level within our state boundaries. Long overdue, it will be a lengthy process, one requiring amending the state constitution—and the present legislature will stand directly in the road. After all, they’ve a foolproof device to cheat their voters, and it is one supported by state and federal courts. They’ll not give up that power for something as insignificant as democracy. A change in control of the General Assembly must be the first order of business.


On May 28, Congressman Wiley Nickel (NC-13) brought his Fair Maps Tour in Charlotte. I was asked to serve on the panel. GerryMander was not, but he elbowed his way on anyhow. Not a popular guy in such venues. What a day when we flush GerryMander forever! It can’t happen soon enough!


Pay attention! Stand up and speak out! Democracy is under fierce and relentless attack. Don’t let it die!