Supreme Court issues ruling on gerrymandering case

By Meg Wagner

Updated 11:38 a.m. ET, June 18, 2018
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11:11 a.m. ET, June 18, 2018

ACLU: Supreme Court "missed an opportunity"

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement on the two gerrymandering opinions the Supreme Court handed down today, calling out a "missed" opportunity.

Here's the statement from Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project:

“The Supreme Court missed an opportunity today to lay down a firm marker as to when partisan gerrymandering is so extreme that it violates the constitutional rights of voters. But the court permitted lawsuits against unfair maps to continue. Cases around the country — including our challenge to Ohio’s gerrymandered congressional map — will remain ongoing to ensure that voters’ voices are heard.”
10:54 a.m. ET, June 18, 2018

Here's what the court wrote in its gerrymandering opinions

The Supreme court sidestepped two major cases concerning partisan gerrymandering in Maryland and Wisconsin, allowing challenged maps in two states to stand for now.

Here's how the court phrased its decisions:

From Benisek v. Lamone (The Maryland case)

The court reasonably could have concluded that a preliminary injunction would have been against the public interest, as an injunction might have worked a needlessly “chaotic and disruptive effect upon the electoral process” 

From Gill v. Whitford (The Wisconsin case)

It is a case about group political interests, not individual legal rights. But this Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences. The Court’s constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it.  We therefore remand the case to the District Court so that the plaintiffs may have an opportunity to prove concrete and particularized injuries using evidence—unlike the bulk of the evidence presented thus far—that would tend to demonstrate a burden on their individual votes.We express no view on the merits of the plaintiffs’ case. We caution, however, that “standing is not dispensed in gross”: A plaintiff ’s remedy must be tailored to redress the plaintiff ’s particular injury.
10:41 a.m. ET, June 18, 2018

You're hearing the word gerrymandering a lot today. Here's what it means.

The Supreme Court ruled on two cases concerning gerrymandering today, allowing challenged maps in two states to stand for now.

Gerrymandering is why election maps across the country can look so crazy. Politicians manipulate boundaries to favor one party or another.

The history of gerrymandering goes back more than 200 years.

The term comes from a salamander-shaped district in Massachusetts drawn during the 1810 term of Gov. Elbridge Gerry (Gerrymander is a mash-up of Gerry and salamander.)

Learn more about the history of gerrymandering in the video below:

10:36 a.m. ET, June 18, 2018

What this gerrymandering ruling means

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

The ruling in a Wisconsin case dodges the question of whether courts can hear claims concerning partisan gerrymandering, but the justices did make it more difficult for challengers to bring such claims.  

The opinion is a blow to Democratic challengers in Wisconsin, who challenged Republican drawn maps and had won in lower court.

10:34 a.m. ET, June 18, 2018

Court sidesteps major partisan gerrymandering cases, lets maps stand for now 

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

The Supreme court sidestepped two major cases concerning partisan gerrymandering, allowing challenged maps in two states to stand for now.

10:26 a.m. ET, June 18, 2018

JUST IN: The Supreme Court issues gerrymandering case ruling

The Supreme Court has issued a ruling in a Wisconsin political gerrymandering case

The case, Gill v. Whitford is a partisan gerrymander case brought by Wisconsin Democrats who challenged maps drawn by Republicans in the state.