Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

SCOTUS Protest

Critics of partisan gerrymandering gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday as the justices heard arguments for cases challenging maps in North Carolina and Maryland. (Photo: @PFAW/Twitter)

'Pay Attention to This': Right-Wing Supreme Court Hints at Troubling Decision on Partisan Gerrymandering

"The court needs to be on the right side of history and stop politicians from infringing on the people's right to freely choose their representatives through voting."

Jessica Corbett

Even as voting rights advocates urge the U.S. Supreme Court to "be on the right side of history" by putting voters and not lawmakers first, the court's right-wing majority indicated Tuesday it may refuse to impose constitutional limits on extreme partisan gerrymandering.

"Citizens in all 50 states deserve to be able to choose their representatives—and not the other way around."
—Paul Smith, CLC

"A familiar pattern repeated itself," the Washington Post reported Tuesday after two hours of oral arguments about politically motivated maps. "Liberal justices saw it as a threat to democracy that requires action while conservatives wondered how courts could ever decide when a political process becomes too political."

Justices on Tuesday heard arguments for both Lamone v. Benisek and Rucho v. Common Cause, which has been consolidated with Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina (LWVNC).

The political maps in these cases, which local leaders have acknowledged were intentionally drawn to benefit the political parties in power, gave an advantage to Republicans in North Carolina and Democrats in Maryland.

"Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of rigging the system by drawing lines to maximize their own party's advantage, so these cases present the justices with a unique opportunity," said Paul Smith, vice president at the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and counsel of record for Rucho v. LWVNC. "Voters nationwide are ready for a ruling that will put the voters and not lawmakers first."

Recent nationwide polling commissioned by CLC has shown (pdf) "broad, bipartisan support for the Supreme Court to set clear rules for when gerrymandering violates the Constitution," and advocates for voting rights gathered outside of the court building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

"The court needs to be on the right side of history and stop politicians from infringing on the people's right to freely choose their representatives through voting," said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn, calling the case in North Carolina "the most egregious partisan gerrymander the Supreme Court has ever seen."

However, current members of the nation's high court—which has ruled on racial but not partisan gerrymandering and "sidestepped the central questions" in another pair of cases last year—don't seem inclined crack down on constitutionally dubious map drawing.

Concluding that the justices on Tuesday "appeared unlikely" to put forth a new test to target partisan gerrymandering when they release their rulings, expected in June, NBC News reported:

The two newest justices, both appointed by President Donald Trump, said the Supreme Court should be especially reluctant to open the door to challenges based on excessive partisanship, given that more states are adopting methods such as redistricting commissions that take the map-drawing assignment away from legislatures.

"I don't dispute that extreme partisanship is a real danger in our country," Justice Brett Kavanaugh said. "But there's a fair amount of activity going on in the states to deal with it."

Justice Neil Gorsuch expressed a similar concern. "Why should we wade into this when there are alternatives that exist?"

As journalist Ari Berman, who has written extensively about voting rights, put it: "Presented with two cases of extreme partisan gerrymandering, the Supreme Court's conservative majority hinted that it might preserve these politically motivated maps in order to avoid what it seemed to regard as the most dangerous possible outcome: equal representation for all citizens."

"If court upholds extreme partisan gerrymandering that will allow Republicans to rig elections for next decade," Berman added on Twitter. "Pay attention to this."

"It is still possible for voters in North Carolina and Maryland to have fair maps drawn in time for the pivotal 2020 elections," said CLC's Smith. "Citizens in all 50 states deserve to be able to choose their representatives—and not the other way around."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo