Supreme Court gives Dems a big win on gerrymandering

(Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Exactly when is that advantage President Donald Trump supposedly delivered on the Supreme Court supposed to kick in?

The Supreme Court handed Democrats a victory Monday when it ruled against the Virginia House of Delegates in a racial gerrymandering case, according to The Hill.

Republicans currently control the House by a 51-49 margin.

One of Trump’s nominees, Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the majority opinion, and Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. 

It was a 5-4 ruling, with Justice Clarence Thomas being the other jurist to join them.

Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh dissented.

(Thomas is seen as perhaps the most conservative justice, while Breyer may be the most liberal after Ginsburg, making for an interesting ruling.)

The Supreme Court ruled the House didn’t have the standing to appeal a lower court ruling that said new district maps must be used ahead of statewide elections later this year, The Hill reported — Democrats claimed previous district maps were unlawful.

The issue being that those maps, drawn by Republican lawmakers in 2011, after the last census, allegedly diminished the power of black voters in other districts.

In effect, Ginsburg said that because the entirety of state government wasn’t suing to fight the new maps, the case was being throw out, as characterized by NPR.

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

(Someone might want to inform Speaker Nancy Pelosi.)

More from The Hill on the ruling:

Virginia Democrats had challenged the 11 districts for the state’s House of Delegates, which were drawn after the 2010 census, and each have a population with at least 55 percent black residents of voting age.

The Supreme Court has previously held that race can’t be the leading factor in the creation of state districts. The justices first took on the case in 2015, but sent it back down to a lower court for reconsideration.

But lawyers for the GOP-held House of Delegates claimed that by making sure that each legislative district had 55 percent black voters, the state was ensuring that their voting power wasn’t diminished.


Justice Alito wrote the dissenting opinion, arguing “the new districting plan ordered by the lower court will harm the House in a very fundamental way,” while dismissing the claim that it wouldn’t because members frequently change.

“Really? It seems obvious that any group consisting of members who must work together to achieve the group’s aims has a keen interest in the identity of its members, and it follows that the group also has a strong interest in how its members are selected,” he wrote. “And what is more important to such a group than the content of its work?”

As for the ruling, with former Attorney General Eric Holder on board, that’s enough to give one reason for pause, given the racist disposition he displayed as a member of the Obama administration.

More than one social media user reminded Holder that his Justice Department cleared the previous lines.

Tom Tillison


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