For the first time, the Supreme Court seems receptive to putting limits on partisan gerrymanders – Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court heard a powerful plea for reining in partisan gerrymandering, and a majority on Tuesday seemed to lean in favor of a potential landmark ruling that for the first time would limit politicians from entrenching their party in power by clever drawing of legislative or congressional district lines.

The court has never before struck down election maps simply because they lock in an advantage for one party. But now is the time, the justices were told.

“Politicians are never going to fix gerrymandering. You are the only institution in the United States that can solve this problem,” Paul M. Smith, an attorney for Wisconsin Democrats, who brought the current case, told the justices. “And this is really the last opportunity” to act before the next round of redistricting following the census of 2020.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who likely holds the deciding vote on the issue, appeared to agree. He told a Wisconsin state lawyer that he thought extreme partisan gerrymanders could by challenged on 1st Amendment grounds because they deny voters in the disfavored party a right to have their views represented.

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