WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that partisan election maps drawn by North Carolina Republicans and Maryland Democrats are constitutional despite their one-sided nature.
The 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the court’s other conservatives said federal courts may not intervene to block partisan gerrymandering.
“We have no commission to allocate political power and influence in the absence of a constitutional directive or legal standards to guide us in the exercise of such authority,” Roberts said.
Racial gerrymandering is still illegal, but the court had never said whether it’s possible for state legislatures to go too far in drawing legislative districts simply to preserve one party’s power, without racial discrimination.
To undo gerrymandered districts, a party must come into power by winning elections in the districts that have been stacked against them.