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8 - When the Courts Redistrict

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2021

Alex Keena
Affiliation:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Michael Latner
Affiliation:
California Polytechnic State University
Anthony J. McGann McGann
Affiliation:
University of Strathclyde
Charles Anthony Smith
Affiliation:
University of California, Irvine
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Summary

Since the 1960s, the judiciary has become a key player in redistricting, and litigation has become an increasingly common feature of the decennial redistricting process. How do the courts fare when they draw the lines? We investigate the effects of court intervention in several states where federal and state courts redrew or forced changes to state legislative maps. We find that courts are only a partial solution to the problem of gerrymandering, because judicial actors are minimalistic in their treatment of redistricting and, as incrementalists, have a tendency to avoid extreme change. While the federal courts have been assertive in combatting racial gerrymandering, state courts have had only limited effect on partisan bias when they have been delegated the task of redistricting.

Type
Chapter
Information
Gerrymandering the States
Partisanship, Race, and the Transformation of American Federalism
, pp. 148 - 162
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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