In a 5-4 decision announced Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that an independent commission formed to redraw congressional and state Legislature districts is constitutional.
The SCOTUS justices ruled that the Constitution does not necessarily mean that states can’t cut their Legislatures out of the redistricting process.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor.
The justices who dissented included Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.
This is what Ginsberg wrote:
“The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering and, thereby, to ensure that Members of Congress would have ‘an habitual recollection of their dependence on the people. In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore ‘the core principle of republican government,’ namely, ‘that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.’”
Here’s another excerpt from the opinion:
“Banning lawmaking by initiative to direct a State’s method of apportioning congressional districts would not just stymie attempts to curb gerrymandering. It would also cast doubt on numerous other time, place, and manner regulations governing federal elections that States have adopted by the initiative method. As well, it could endanger election provisions in state constitutions adopted by conventions and ratified by voters at the ballot box, without involvement or approval by ‘the Legislature.”
To read the entire opinion, click here.
For more information on redistricting, check out our resources page here, and our section dedicated to white papers and academic research dealing with the matter here.