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Donald Trump, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh

President Donald Trump greets Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his State of the Union address in the House Chamber in Washington, D.C. on February 4, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Thank Court-Backed Gerrymandering for GOP House Takeover

Recent actions—and inaction—by the right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for a Republican majority.

Sue Sturgis

Number of previously Democratic U.S. House seats Republicans captured in this year's midterm elections by drawing congressional districts rigged to their advantage, with the chamber now under GOP control while counting is still underway in some races more than a week after Election Day: more than 12

Year in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rucho v. Common Cause, a case out of North Carolina, that partisan gerrymandering can't be challenged in the federal courts: 2019

Month in which the high court ruled in a redistricting case out of Alabama titled Merrill v. Milligan to suspend the Voting Rights Act's ban on racial gerrymandering, thereby freeing Republican lawmakers in that state and others including Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas to draw maps that diminished Black voting power: 2/2022

Number of words the Supreme Court majority—which did not include dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts—offered to explain its decision to overturn the ruling of the lower court's three-judge panel, which had two Trump appointees: 0

As a consequence of Milligan, estimated number of congressional seats lost by Democrats this year: 7 to 10

In Florida, number of congressional seats the Republican Party picked up under a voting map ordered by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) after he rejected a less extreme one drawn by the GOP-controlled legislature: 4

Year when Florida voters added an amendment to the state constitution to bar gerrymandering, which observers say DeSantis's congressional map likely violates: 2010

Month in which the Florida Supreme Court declined to rule DeSantis's gerrymandered voting map unconstitutional: 6/2022

Percent of the population that's Black in Florida's former 5th Congressional District, which had been represented by Black Democrat Al Lawson before the new map split it up and moved the parts into Republican districts: 46

The GOP's edge in Florida's congressional delegation under the previous congressional map: 16-11

The GOP's edge under DeSantis's map: 20-8

Date on which a federal court allowed a lawsuit challenging Florida's congressional map for diminishing Black power to move forward, though it removed DeSantis as a defendant by reasoning that governors do not directly enforce the map: 11/8/2022

The new congressional delegation party split in North Carolina, where court-ordered districts replaced a map drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature that was expected to yield a 10-4 GOP advantage : 7-7

New Republican majority on the previously Democratic-controlled North Carolina Supreme Court, which could result in a 10-4 map in 2024: 5-2


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Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis

Sue Sturgis is the Director and regular contributor to the Institute for Southern Study's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. She is a former staff writer for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Independent Weekly in Durham, North Carolina. Sue is the author or co-author of five Institute reports, including Faith in the Gulf (Aug/Sept 2008), Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (January 2008) and Blueprint for Gulf Renewal (Aug/Sept 2007). Sue holds a Masters in Journalism from New York University.

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