Supreme Court: Sabotage of democracy is none of our business

Opinion

June 28, 2019 - 5:29 PM

After next year’s census, legislatures in most states will draw new congressional districts, and if one party dominates the legislature, the odds are that the districts will be drawn in a way that will give that party an unfair advantage in the U.S. House. On Thursday, in an appalling act of judicial abdication, a majority of Supreme Court justices said that such a sabotage of democracy is none of their business.

Writing for himself and four conservative colleagues in cases from North Carolina and Maryland, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. essentially threw up his hands when confronted with congressional maps drawn to dilute the voting power of members of the opposing party. The Maryland map was configured by Democrats to eliminate a longtime Republican member of Congress. The North Carolina map was rigged by Republicans to disadvantage Democratic voters.

The parties didn’t even bother to pursue their objectives by stealth. A Republican leader in North Carolina justified partisan mapmaking this way: “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats.” In Maryland, a key figure in the drawing of Democratic-friendly district lines was Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the current House majority leader, who referred to himself as a “serial gerrymanderer.”

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