Gerrymandering

Supreme Court’s Verdict on Racial Gerrymandering Appeal Hits Republicans

in Virginia

On Monday, the Supreme Court dissolved the appeal citing the few districts from the maps drawn by the court being racially gerrymandering. The appeal which was filed by the Virginia’s Republican controlled House of Delegates resulted in the favor of the Democrats.

With the verdict, it is believed that the Democrats will receive the benefit in the elections this fall as the elections will take place only in the districts, which are more favorable to the Democrats. It also means that the maps which favor the Democrats, developed under the order of the court will continue to be in service.  

It is believed that the decision did not cast insight on the topic, such as in what ways should the courts judge the claims of racial gerrymandering – even though the judges announced the decision in favor of the Democrats with the majority of 5-4. However, with the decision, the judges did shed light on the concern that who has the right to sue.

The probable chances of the Republicans having continued majority and great hold on the House of the Delegates have drastically reduced after the verdict. Every position in the state legislation will have elections again. However, the only barrier is that the GOP has the advantage of only two seats in each chamber.

It is also believed that the court is scrutinizing more possible pioneering cases about partisan gerrymandering, in maps drawn by Republicans in North Carolina and Democrats in Maryland.

Among the judges, who deemed the Republicans having no legal right, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch declared the verdict with a majority of 5-4.

In the statement, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “One House of its bicameral legislature cannot alone continue the litigation against the will of its partners in the legislative process.”

“If the State had designated the House to represent its interests, and if the House had in fact carried out that mission, we would agree that the House could stand in for the State. Neither precondition, however, is met here.”

Continuing the efforts to end Republican gerrymandering, Former Attorney General and chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee Eric Holder said that the Court’s decision “is an important victory for African Americans in Virginia who have been forced since 2011 to vote in racially gerrymandered districts that unfairly diluted their voting power.”

Speaking in regards of the verdict, Governor Ralph Northam posted a written statement, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for democracy and voting rights in our Commonwealth. When we corrected racially gerrymandered districts earlier this year, we righted a wrong — as I have always said, voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.”

With Supreme Court’s decision of mitigating racial gerrymandering, it is believed that the decision will have far reaching impacts on the politics of Virginia.

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