The Supreme Court's Gerrymandered Ruling
Striking down two North Carolina districts because of alleged "racism," SCOTUS exposes a serious problem with the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 Monday that North Carolina’s most recent redistricting in two congressional districts was driven by racial considerations. Justice Clarence Thomas joined the Court’s four leftists, with the majority opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan. Virginia faces judicial review for 11 districts, and Alabama also saw some districts struck down in 2015.
USA Today, of all places, makes plain the predicament facing Southern states: “The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that states draw districts enabling African Americans to elect their chosen representatives, lest black voters be spread too thinly across district lines. Two decades ago, Democrats used the law to demand so-called ‘majority-minority’ districts. Since Republicans took over many state legislatures in 2010, they have drawn districts with what African American and Democratic critics claim are more blacks than necessary, in order to keep surrounding districts whiter — and more Republican. But the Supreme Court has knocked down several of those maps.”
In other words, Democrats wanted race-based voting districts until they didn’t.
The Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso adds that all eight justices (Neil Gorsuch sat out the vote after missing the arguments) agreed on one particular district. “The reason that even the dissenting justices concurred in this part of the decision is that state legislative leaders made the mistake of openly saying they were deliberately creating this district as a 51 percent black-majority district in order to get preclearance from the Obama administration’s Justice Department.” Ironically, then, he points out, “The easiest way to violate Section Two of the Voting Rights Act is to try very hard to follow it.”
Let’s face it: Gerrymandering is a rather ugly part of partisan behavior. Both parties draw the lines to the best of their own advantage, and it’s always been that way. But The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky highlighted “the confused state of the law” when he said, “The Supreme Court says race can be a factor in redistricting but not the predominant factor, a rule that is so vague, so broad, and so lacking in a definable legal standard that it is not really a rule at all.” And that’s exactly the way Democrats want it so they can continue to slap Republicans with the “racist” label.