“Partisan Gerrymandering: Weeds in the Political Thicket”

Richard Engstrom has written this article for Social Science Quarterly. Here is the abstract:



To highlight the extent of the partisan gerrymandering problem in the United States.


Bring both original and secondary sources to bear on the problem of partisan gerrymandering, through the examination of election results under them, and federal and state court reactions to them.


Evidence shows that gerrymandering in seven states accounted for the Republican Party’s manufactured majority in the U.S. House of Representatives following the 2012 election, and that it took judicial intervention by courts in some states and the Democratic wave election of 2018 to loosen the grip of those gerrymanders to undo that “spurious” majority.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2019 to withdraw federal courts from partisan gerrymandering litigation, just as the district courts were proving themselves able to deal with the issue in a nonpartisan and effective manner, is likely to result in another decade of extensive and excessive gerrymandering in the United States.


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