In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that federal courts are not the appropriate venue to resolve allegations of partisan gerrymandering — a decision advocates for fair elections warned could bolster partisan manipulating of voting districts.
The conservative justices on the high court remanded cases from Maryland and North Carolina to the lower courts and instructed those courts to dismiss the complaints of partisan gerrymandering.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan:
“Today’s ruling was terribly disappointing to all who believe in fair elections. I pledge to vigorously continue this fight, both in Maryland and across our nation. Gerrymandering is wrong, and both parties are guilty. It stifles real political debate, contributes to our bitter partisan polarization, and deprives citizens of meaningful choices. The voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around. I will do everything in my power to restore free and fair elections for the people.
“The Supreme Court agrees that this is a matter for states and legislatures to address. Next year, I will again introduce redistricting reform legislation in Maryland to put the drawing of districts in the hands of a balanced, fair, and nonpartisan commission—instead of partisan politicians. This is a problem we can, should, and must solve. It is, and will continue to be, one of my highest priorities as governor.”
Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford:
I stand with Governor Hogan and all Marylanders who are tired of the political gamesmanship of gerrymandering and demand free and fair elections. We will continue this fight and again push for redistricting reform legislation next session. Maryland has always led by example and this issue should be no different.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh:
“This is a sad day for our democracy. We urged the Supreme Court to adopt a nationwide standard that would prevent extreme partisan gerrymandering. The decision today instead prevents voters everywhere from challenging in federal court any redistricting map as excessively partisan.
“The attention now turns to Congress, which has the power to outlaw partisan gerrymandering of Congressional districts.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer(Md-5):
“Today’s Supreme Court decision only further highlights the need for national, comprehensive redistricting reform. Both parties have used the redistricting process for partisan ends; only through the mutual agreement and cooperation of both parties will this practice end. The House took action in March, when we passed the For the People Act, to end partisan redistricting on a national basis. I strongly urge the Senate to take up our legislation and pass it. We must ensure that all Americans’ voices are equally heard in Congress.”
Representative Elijah E. Cummings:
” Americans deserve to know that when they cast their ballot, their vote truly matters in choosing who represents them. The ballot is our voice, and we must not let it be muted by partisan gerrymandering. Today’s Supreme Court decision reinforces the urgent need for comprehensive redistricting reform to ensure that every American’s vote matters. In March, the House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which included urgently needed democracy reform provisions—including redistricting reform. The Senate must take up this legislation so that we can ensure the American people will be heard. “