Civil Rights

Supreme Court Won’t Hear GOP Gerrymandering Challenge

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

This story probably won't receive as much attention as it deserves.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the case brought by Republicans in Pennsylvania who sought to overturn the state Supreme Court's ruling against their gerrymandered congressional district maps.

The justices, with no noted dissents, on Monday rejected the Republican appeal of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling throwing out the previous Republican-drawn map because it violated the state constitution’s requirement that elections be “free and equal” by marginalizing Democratic voters.

The high court previously rejected two Republican requests to block the new district boundaries that the state high court issued to replace the old map, which had been in effect since 2011. Republicans have held 13 of the state’s 18 U.S. House seats since 2011 despite Pennsylvania being a closely divided bellwether state.

There's no guarantee the Supreme Court will decline to hear similar cases in the future but, if this is an indication that they won't, it's a huge opportunity for Democrats and civil rights activists.

There's a shorter and easier path to regaining control of most state governments than the federal government and it just so happens that Democrats are in position to win control of several states next week if voters actually vote.

States have the power to pass their own non-discrimination laws, their own environmental protections, and their own voting rights laws. We've seen little movement in these directions in recent years because Republicans have controlled a large majority of state governments. It's time to change that.

Republicans have sought to empower state governments ever since President Obama was elected in 2008, but that power can be used both ways.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Republicans have sought to empower state governments ever since President Obama was elected in 2008, but that power can be used both ways.

    And when it is used the other way, watch how quickly the Republicans start complaining about states going their own way. “It’s going to cause confusion if there isn’t a consistent requirement across states. What? States Rights? What are those? We’ve never been in favor of those.”

  • muselet

    “With no noted dissents” doesn’t mean there were no dissents, just that the dissenters didn’t want to go on the record, so to speak, at this time.

    After the midterms, I reckon normal service will be restored and every case brought by Rs to reverse anti-gerrymandering actions will be taken up by the Supremes and gleefully supported by a 5-4 vote.

    I also fully expect the Rs to pass, and the Supremes to approve by a 5-4 vote, laws forbidding states from passing anti-discrimination laws more stringent than the federal government’s.

    –alopecia

    • Christopher Foxx

      I also fully expect the Rs to pass,

      Harder to do if the Dems control the house.

  • Aynwrong

    I have to admit I’m surprised by this. I thought for sure with a conservative controlled court any law regarding election integrity would be decided along partisan lines. If this does signal a trend then D’s have a genuine opportunity if and only if they can start winning some local and state elections.

  • Badgerite

    This. This post is right on the money. The right wing has known for decades how important the court system and local and state races are to controlling national politics and they have aggressively gone after power at the local and state level so as to wield power beyond their numbers nationally. And it has worked. Time for the Democrats to stop looking for a national savior and start doing the local and state work necessary at the local and state levels as well.

    • Scopedog

      “Time for the Democrats to stop looking for a national savior and start doing the local and state work necessary at the local and state levels as well.”

      I’d say that the Democrats got the message right after the 2016 Election. The results of elections starting in 2017 seem to be proof of this.

      The ones who seem NOT to have gotten the message? The unrepentant Bernie Bros and the Green Party faithful.

  • Now that Dems might win more control over states, I’m sure we’ll see a shift in the traditional states rights stance of the GOP.

  • katanahamon

    Some good news in a sea of bad. Meanwhile, Rump will waste probably over half a billion dollars in a gross misuse of the military by sending them to the border in what is essentially a taxpayer funded publicity stunt. Of course, he and his administration are no strangers to wasting taxpayer funds. Fox and Fiends are accusing the “caravan” of having leprosy, polio and smallpox. (For conspiracy theorists against vaccines it’s odd they’re afraid of disease..)..and I guess none of them have two brain cells to rub together to determine how low polio and leprosy rates and distribution are, or the fact that smallpox was declared eradicated around 1980…..

    • Christopher Foxx

      by sending them to the border in what is essentially a taxpayer funded publicity stunt.

      “essentially” ??