Supreme Court rejects gerrymandering appeal

Image Source: Jarek Tuszynski / CC BY-SA 3.0 / MGN
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JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - The United States Supreme Court says federal courts can't police gerrymandering challenges. The Court says it's a political issue, not a judicial one.

Let's start with the basics, the definition of gerrymandering.

"Drawing a district that favors your political party or your particular group," said Jackson State professor, Dr. D'Andra Orey.

The Supreme Court is saying claims of partisan gerrymandering do not belong in federal courts.

Dr. Orey says the decision is a remnant from the past when southern states put policies in place to dilute the black vote without protection of the federal government.

"The reason that you have Mississippi with the highest number of black officials is because there were efforts to create districts where African Americans could win," Orey said. "Previously you had gerrymandered districts where African Americans could not win."

Legislative and congressional lines are re-drawn by state legislatures every ten years after each new census.

"Worst case scenario, and I'm not saying they would, but they could actually go to congressional district number two and crack that district up and it'll look exactly like it looked in 1966," said Orey.

Sen. John Horhn argues the decision gives whatever party holds the majority the license to choose the voters who elect them.

"If you're a democratically controlled legislature, then you can gerrymander the heck out of the state to put Democrats to be able to hold onto power," said Horhn. "If you're in a Republican controlled state, it hands you that loaded gun to be able to hold onto power in the foreseeable future."

And that doesn't make sense to Horhn.

"If we don't have a remedy available to us at the federal level that deals with democracy and deals with fairness, where does it end?"