First Amendment and voting rights: Supreme Court to hear two cases on gerrymandering in March

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in March about gerrymandering in two states, North Carolina and Maryland, with plaintiffs claiming in each case that voting maps violated voters’ First Amendment rights. Democrats in North Carolina and Republicans in Maryland brought the lawsuits. (CNN, January 4, 2019, by Ariane de Vogue and Sophie Tatum)

While hearing many gerrymandering cases in the past, the Court has never developed a standard for determining when the gerrymandering was too extreme. (Constitutional Law Prof Blog, January 4, 2019, by Ruthann Robson)

Writing in The Atlantic, January 7, 2019, law professor Richard L. Lasen fears that in taking the gerrymandering cases, the conservative judges may not support the lower courts in rulings that the practices violate the First Amendment but instead rule that independent redistricting commissions set up through voter initiatives usurp the rights of state legislatures.

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