Congressional Districts and Gerrymandering

North Carolina’s Congressional districts are illegally drawn, says a special three-judge court.

A special three-judge court invalidated the North Carolina map after finding Republicans adopted it for the driving purpose of magnifying the party’s political power beyond its share of the electorate.

I’ll leave aside the disparate impact sewage that local districts must reflect the larger State’s electorate “demographics.”  The larger problem is with the underlying premise of gerrymandering: that some groups of Americans need their political power enhanced relative to other groups of Americans because some groups are, in some sense, fewer in numbers than other groups.

That’s not relevant when it comes to citizenship and the citizens’ right and obligation to vote.  All Americans are the same in the voting booth.  The differentiation occurs legitimately only in the campaigns for office and on the ballot and nowhere else.  Indeed,

[T]he court’s opinion found that the Republican-drawn map violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and other provisions that deal with the election of members of Congress.

Any form of gerrymandering commits that violation, since any form of gerrymandering by design enhances one group at the expense of another.

It’s long past time for courts to recognize this—and for politicians to preempt the question by acting on their recognition of this simple fact.  Don’t gerrymander.  Draw Congressional districts solely as squares containing substantially equal populations of citizens, with the first four squares’ shared corner at the State’s geographic center and working out from there to the State’s boundaries with abutting States.  The squares’ straight sides (and the squareness of the district) should be deviated from only at those boundaries.

It’s time to treat Americans in the voting booth—in the political arena—as that which we are: Americans.  The demographic membership of an American is deeply secondary to that.

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