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GerrymanderingAn example of a Gerrymandered map that favors the Republican canditates for the state legislature while diluting the influence of Democrats. Here I use a Gerrymandered map of Wisconsin as a visual reference.

Introduction

Gerrymandering
Gerrymandering map that favors the Republican canditates for the state legislature while diluting the influence of Democrats. Here I use a Gerrymandered map of Wisconsin as a visual reference.

Gerrymandering is an insidious practice, deeply ingrained in American politics, which allows state legislatures to manipulate electoral districts in ways that threaten the fundamental democratic principle of “one person, one vote.”

As the U.S. Supreme Court once again confronts the issue of gerrymandering in the upcoming case Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the critical question looms: Will the conservative justices align with the majority, putting an end to this unethical practice, or will they perpetuate a system that undermines the very essence of American democracy?

The Dark Art of Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is the dark art of drawing electoral district lines with precision and cunning to ensure the election of preferred candidates. Thus creating an unfair advantage for one party over the other. creating “safe” districts. This creates a condition of nearly guaranteeing the election of the prefered candidate.

Undermining ‘One Person, One Vote’

At its core, gerrymandering subverts the principle of “one person, one vote,” which is the bedrock of democratic representation. The very essence of democracy rests on the notion that each citizen’s voice carries equal weight in the electoral process. Gerrymandering disrupts this balance by concentrating or dispersing voters strategically, diluting the power of certain groups, and thereby granting an unfair edge to the political party in control. Thus, majority voters find themselves in a minority position. Now a select few hold disproportionate sway over the political landscape.

The Supreme Court’s Role in Gerrymandering

The U.S. Supreme Court plays a crucial role in determining the fate of gerrymandering in American democracy. Its decisions have the potential to either safeguard the integrity of the electoral process or perpetuate a system that favors entrenched interests.

Past Court Rulings in Gerrymandering Cases

The inconsistent history of Supreme Court rulings on gerrymandering waffles between yes and no gerrymandering as la . In the 1993 case of Shaw v. Reno, the Court ruled against racial gerrymandering, stating that drawing district lines primarily based on race was unconstitutional. However, when it comes to partisan gerrymandering, the Court remained silent. The 2019 case Rucho v. Common Cause the Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering claims fall beyond the jurisdiction of thefederal courts. This opinion leaves the issue unresolved and deepening the problem.

The Challenge of ‘Conjoined Polarization’

One of the complex challenges facing the Supreme Court is the concept of “conjoined polarization.” In states like South Carolina, race and party affiliation tightly intertwine. This intertwining complicates the distinction between racial and partisan motivations when drawing district lines, further clouding the issue.

Conservative Justices

Pessimism arises from the fact that conservative justices have not consistently opposed gerrymandering. Their past opinions have raised doubts about their commitment to ending this unethical practice. When conservative justices themselves hesitate to take a firm stand against gerrymandering, it raises concerns about the court’s ability to safeguard the democratic principles of “one person, one vote.”

A Glimpse of Hope

However, there remains a glimmer of hope. With the addition of two conservative justices since the previous cases, the direction the court takes is uncertain. There is hope that the court might prioritize minority voting rights, acknowledge the widespread public disdain for gerrymandering, and take a decisive stance against this practice that corrodes the foundations of democracy.

Conclusion

Gerrymandering persists as a formidable threat to American democracy. It distorts the principle of “one person, one vote” and undermines the majority’s voice in the political process. The Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision in the Alexander case will significantly influence the future of voting rights in the United States.

The question remains whether the court heeds the majority’s call to end gerrymandering? A decision upholding the principles of fairness and equality, the backbone of a free society? On the other hand, if it will rule to continue to allow this unethical practice to persist? The outcome of the case will profoundly shape American democracy for years to come. The hope is that the court chooses to align with the majority, ensuring that the concept of “one person, one vote” remains the cornerstone of our democratic system.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

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