Civil Rights

Supreme Court Won’t Hear GOP Gerrymandering Challenge

Written by SK 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.