By Corinna Barnard
The High Court decided to do nothing about a practice that, in the words of dissenting Justice Elena Kagan, “beats democracy,” writes Marjorie Cohn.
The Supreme Court has abdicated its responsibility to strike down partisan gerrymandering. This occurs when one party intentionally manipulates district boundaries to skew its voting power, notwithstanding the will of the voters. Although both parties engage in partisan gerrymandering, Republicans benefit from it far more than Democrats.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the conservative 5-4 majority in Rucho v. Common Cause, admitted that excessive partisan gerrymandering is “incompatible with democratic principles” and “leads to results that reasonably seem unjust.” But, the High Court held, challenges to the practice “present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.”
In her passionate dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan noted that extreme partisan gerrymanders “deprive citizens…