A panel of federal judges on Wednesday advanced what an expert says could be “the biggest gerrymandering case in a generation”—one that could have nationwide implications for elections and democracy across the United States.
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The three-judge court ruled 2-1 (pdf) that the First Amendment-based claim against partisan gerrymandering regarding Maryland’s sixth congressional district is valid and may proceed, either to summary judgment or trial. The ruling has no bearing on voting this November, and a decision would apply only to future elections.
“Today’s decision is another victory for voters and their right to choose their legislators rather than allowing legislators to choose their voters.”
—Karen Hobart Flynn, Common Cause
The case, brought by American University law student Steve Shapiro, argues that Maryland’s congressional district map, drawn by Democratic lawmakers following the 2010 Census, violated the rights of 6th District Republican voters to political association and expression.
But as the case has the potential to set a national precedent restricting partisan gerrymandering, its moving forward is “excellent news for both Democrats and democracy because of how widespread Republican gerrymandering is nationwide,” Daily Kos contributing editor Stephen Wolf wrote Wednesday.
Indeed, the Washington Post reported:
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