Judge Niemeyer and intent in gerrymandering

A few days ago, Rick highlighted Judge Niemeyer’s dissent in the latest order in the Maryland partisan gerrymandering case.  There are, as both Judge Niemeyer and the majority pointed out, some differences between the Maryland case and the Gill v. Whitford Wisconsin case about to be argued at the Supreme Court: for example, the plaintiffs are proceeding under somewhat different theories, and the challenge in Wisconsin is statewide while the challenge in Maryland is to a single district.  That said, I agree that Judge Niemeyer’s opinion is likely to be influential in shaping how the Court thinks about the claims in Gill: in some ways, a statewide case is cleaner, and Judge Niemeyer’s focus would make it even easier for the Court to affirm the finding of an unconstitutional gerrymander in Gill.  I’ll also note that Judge Niemeyer’s focus is squarely on the impermissible intent involved in targeting opposing voters based on their partisan affiliation, as Michael Kang, Michael Parsons, and some guy named Justin Levitt have all argued it should be.

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