We have a standard for judging partisan gerrymandering. The Supreme Court should use it.

In his farewell address to the nation, then-President Barack Obama called for an end to partisan gerrymandering, saying that congressional districts should be drawn “to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.” After his presidency, Obama will work with former attorney general Eric Holder, who will lead the National Democratic Redistricting Initiative, a group established to challenge Republican-drawn district maps in the courts.

One obstacle is that the Supreme Court has yet to recognize a discernible and manageable standard for identifying unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. In our recent book, “Gerrymandering in America,” we show that there is indeed a standard to judge these cases that can be directly derived from the Constitution (Monkey Cage article by Anthony J. McGann, Charles Anthony Smith, Michael Latner and Alex Keena)

The Supreme Court’s quiet gerrymandering revolution and the road to minority rule

This month the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a Wisconsin case over the constitutionality of the Republican-dominated state legislature’s redistricting plan. Michael LatnerAnthony McGannCharles Anthony Smithand Alex Keena argue that while this case is important, no matter what it decides, the Supreme Court has already enabled large-scale gerrymandering. They write that the Court’s 2004 decision to not intervene in a similar case has led to several state legislatures gerrymandering their Congressional seats in one party’s favor. Left unchecked, they argue, this trend could lead to unified minority control of the elected branches of government by 2020. (LSE USAPP Blog)

Science and Democracy Engages the Science of Democracy: The Kendall Voting Rights Fellowship

This fall, I am excited to help launch a new chapter in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ commitment to putting science to work toward building a healthier planet and a safer world. My research training is in the field of electoral systems and their impact on representation and public policy. I am most recently a co-author on the book Gerrymandering in America: The Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and The Future of Popular Sovereignty. As the new Kendall Voting Rights Fellow, I will be studying the impact of elections on many of the broader policy goals that UCS is pursuing. (UCS’ The Equation)