“Drawing the Line on Redistricting”

New Bruce Cain column in the American Interest:

The Supreme Court has decided to review three partisan redistricting cases this term. One case centers on an alleged Republican partisan gerrymander in Wisconsin (Gill v. Whitford), another on an alleged Democratic gerrymander in Maryland (Benisek v. Lamone) and the third, an alleged Texas racial gerrymander undertaken for partisan reasons (Perez v. Abbott). Taking these cases up in the same term suggests that the Supreme Court may have something meaningful in mind, but it is not at all clear what that something is.

Expectations are all over the map. The reform community hopes that Justice Kennedy will give them a parting gift in the form of a manageable judicial standard striking down partisan gerrymandering once and for all. That expectation could be wrong on two counts: first, that Justice Kennedy is leaving the Court any time soon, and second, that he will finally give them the ruling that they so desperately want. It is just as likely that this predominantly conservative Court could decide to put a stake in the heart of the anti-gerrymandering effort once and for all, or fail to find any clear consensus, leaving the whole matter in a continued state of ambiguity as it has done in the past.

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