Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Open Access)
Colby College. Government Dept.
L. Sandy Maisel
The Supreme Court sits on the precipice of undertaking major action to limit the strength and scope of partisan gerrymandering. The Court has never struck down a partisan gerrymander. Although the Court appears to possess the authority to invalidate an unconstitutionally discriminatory districting plan, it has never decided on what indicates unconstitutional discrimination in districting. It has never settled on a workable standard to judge whether or not a specific partisan gerrymander is unconstitutional. In November 2016, a lower court in Wisconsin struck down a partisan gerrymander and put forward what it claims is a workable standard to judge the constitutionality of a districting plan. The appeal of that case and the lower court’s standard are now before the Court in Gill v. Whitford. This thesis makes two arguments: first, the Supreme Court is likely to uphold both the lower court’s ruling and the lower court’s standard. Analysis finds the proposed standard incorporates the jurisprudence of moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy in order to attract the support of a five-member Court majority. Second, the effects of the Supreme Court upholding the lower court’s standard are likely to be more limited than many anticipate, and for the better.
Gerrymandering, Fourteenth Amendment, First Amendment, Gill v. Whitford, Supreme Court, Redistricting.
Recommended CitationHarris, Tim, "Is It a Dragon? No, It's a Salamander. The Supreme Court's Effort to Slay the Partisan Gerrymander" (2018). Honors Theses. Paper 904.