Supreme Court issues first of 4 gerrymandering rulings

2 NEWS Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued the first of four rulings on gerrymandering.

Justices ruled that the Republican-led Virginia Statehouse did not have the legal right to challenge a lower court’s ruling that deemed their legislative districting maps unfair.

“Essentially, today the courts came down on the side of voters,” Celina Stewart of the League of Women voters said. “I think that’s the most important thing out of today, is that voters have clarity about who has the right to bring these types of cases.”

Though Monday’s ruling affects only Virginia, justices are expected to soon issue three more rulings on gerrymandering, the common political practice of majority parties drawing election maps to their own benefit.

The other cases come out of Maryland and North Carolina, where both parties are accused of gerrymandering.

One of those cases was filed by the League of Women Voters.

“This case gives the court a chance to take politics out of it and set a standard,” Stewart said.

Experts say that unlike the Virginia case, the Maryland and North Carolina cases may have wide-ranging effects.

“The other cases are sure to have a broader impact whatever the court decides,” Alan Morrison, a constitutional law expert from George Washington University, said. “They are of very great significance in assuring our democracy.”

He said that after years of avoiding a full ruling on gerrymandering, the Supreme Court should force partisan politicians to take their thumb off the scale.

The three other decisions should come down later this week.

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