Justice Clarence Thomas cast the tie-breaking vote in Cooper v. Harris, Monday’s Supreme Court opinion upholding a lower court’s ruling that after the 2010 census North Carolina illegally packed two congressional districts with African-American voters, reducing the influence of African-American voters in other districts.
Cooper is expected to have a large impact nationwide by helping voters establish that their state legislators violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause when they inject race into redistricting decisions with no compelling reason.
Although the districts in Cooper were redrawn before the 2016 election, other Republican-gerrymandered districts across the country played a role in Trump’s winning enough electoral votes to gain the presidency, as well as swaying other national down-ticket and state races. Bringing court cases is expensive and time-consuming, so should be a remedy of last resort. To flip the House and elect progressives in other elections, we need to fight for more citizen-oriented and transparent redistricting.
What can you do? Some Indivisible chapters, such as Indivisible Austin (Texas) and Indivisible Central Florida, are already hard at work in their districts. To learn more about electoral manipulation nationwide and locally, and how you can help fight, check out End Gerrymandering. Another group, The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, was created in 2016 and is chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder. NDRC is building a strategy for Democrats to fight gerrymandering and produce fairer maps in the 2021 redistricting process.
By Heidi Rand