Political Gerrymandering and the Courts

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Algora Publishing, 2003 - Law - 352 pages
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This volume is motivated by three concerns. First is the belief that the issue of political gerrymander will play a significant (although far from dominant) role in redistricting litigation in the 1990s and thereafter. In the 1980s, the legislative and/or congressional redistricting plans of all but a handful of states were subject to lawsuits (Grofman, 1985a). Many of these lawsuits involved the issue of racial vote dilution (Grofman, Migalski, and Noviello, 1985). In the 1980s hundreds of local jurisdictions that used at-large or multimember district elections had their electoral system challenged OCo and most of the jurisdictions under challenge were forced to change their system to a single-member district plan that was not dilutive of minority voting strength (see, e.g., Brischetto and Grofman, 1988). Although partisan gerrymandering is less prevalent than racial vote dilution, in the 1990s we can expect to see challenges to partisan gerrymandering like those in the 1980s to racial vote dilution. In particular, numerous local jurisdictions that use partisan multimember district or at-large elections may be subject to challenge. Second, in commissioning essays I sought to involve a number of the leading scholars in the field so as to put together a largely selfcontained compendium of the major points of view on how issues of partisan gerrymandering are to be litigated. While the ultimate issues in constitutional interpretation are ones that the Supreme Court must resolve, and these will be resolved only after an extensive series of case-by-case adjudications-just as the actual numerical features of the one person, one vote standard evolved only in the decade of litigation after Baker v. Carr (Grofman, 1989a) OCo there is an important role for social scientists to play. Social science testimony proved important in the area of racial vote dilution by aiding courts to interpret the provisions of the Voting Rights Acts (e.g., in defining the operational meaning of terms like racially polarized voting; Grofman, Migalski, and Noviello, 1985; Grofman, 1989b). In like manner, I believe that research by social scientists will aid attorneys and the federal courts in specifying manageable standards to define and measure the effects of partisan gerrymandering. I hope this volume will prove instrumental as the beginning of such a dialogue. The third concern that motivated this volume is my view that egregious partisan gerrymandering is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment rights of political groups, and that it is both appropriate and necessary for courts to intervene when such rights are significantly impaired. However, I recognize that the courts must steer a careful line so as to avoid encouraging frivolous lawsuits, while at the same time sending a clear message to potential gerrymanders that intentional egregious political gerrymanders, which eliminate competition and are built to be resistant to electoral tides, will be struck down. Court intervention to end egregious partisan gerrymandering is necessary for a number of reasons."

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Unresolved Issues in Partisan Gerrymandering Litigation
The Unfinished Reapportionment Revolution
What Does Bandemer Mean?
Toward a Coherent Theory of Gerrymandering Banderner and Thornburg
Bandemers Gap Gerrymandering and Equal Protection
Perspectives on Davis v Banderner Views of the Practitioner Theorist and Reformer
How to Measure Partisan Gerrymandering
Establishing a Statewide Electoral Effects Baseline
Partisan Gerrymandering A Political Problem Without Judicial Solution
Compactness and the 1980s Districts in the Indiana State House Evidence of Political Gerrymandering?
MajorityWin Percentages An Approach to the VotesSeats Relationship in Light of Davis v Banderner
Comparing the Compactness of California Congressional Districts Under Three Different Plans 1980 1982 and 1984
Determining the Predictability of Partisan Voting Patterns in California Elections19781984
Lessons from the 1973 California Masters Plan

The Swing Ratio as a Measure of Partisan Gerrymandering
Detecting Gerrymandering
The Totality of Circumstances Approach
A Geographers Perspective
References and Author Index
Court Cases
Subject Index

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Page 12 - The inhabitants of the said territory shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writs of habeas corpus, and of the trial by jury ; of a proportionate representation of the people in the legislature, and of judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law.
Page 14 - A State may legitimately desire to maintain the integrity of various political subdivisions, insofar as possible, and provide for compact districts of contiguous territory in designing a legislative apportionment scheme. Valid considerations may underlie such aims.
Page 12 - Undoubtedly, the right of suffrage is a fundamental matter in a free and democratic society. Especially since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil and political rights, any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized.
Page 18 - What is done in so arranging for elections, or to achieve political ends or allocate political power, is not wholly exempt from judicial scrutiny under the Fourteenth Amendment. As we have indicated, for example, multimember districts may be vulnerable, if racial or political groups have been fenced out of the political process and their voting strength invidiously minimized.
Page 19 - Any number of consistently applied legislative policies might justify some variance, including, for instance, making districts compact, respecting municipal boundaries, preserving the cores of prior districts, and avoiding contests between incumbent Representatives.
Page 14 - ... we mean that the Equal Protection Clause requires that a State make an honest and good faith effort to construct districts, in both houses of its legislature, as nearly of equal population as is practicable. We realize that it is a practical impossibility to arrange legislative districts so that each one has an identical number of residents, or citizens, or voters. Mathematical exactness or precision is hardly a workable constitutional requirement.

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