Message to Speaker Pelosi: Gerrymandering Decision Struck a Blow for Democracy Not Against It

Based on the reactions of prominent Democrats to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Rucho v. Common Cause, you’d think the end of the United States as we know it was eminent.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the Court’s decision “a devastating blow to our democracy. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi argued that the “Court’s ruling strikes at the very heart of our American democracy.” However, their analysis couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Court’s ruling in Rucho is in line with the political question doctrine which requires certain issues to be decided by elected government officials and not by the courts. Furthermore, the ruling preserves each state’s right to make decisions in areas where the federal government has not been given a specific mandate to intervene.

Justin Reimer, Chief Counsel of the Republican National Committee notes:

By embracing the fact that the court has neither the mandate nor the ability to decipher what constitutes an impermissibly partisan gerrymander, the majority has preserved the court’s neutrality, left our political system to function as it has since the founding, and freed the federal courts to focus on issues where their attention is more merited.

While gerrymandering is a controversial practice, its real-life implications have not proven to be permanent. As the Washington Examiner editorializes using North Carolina as an example:

When Democrats drew sharply partisan maps in North Carolina after the 2000 census, to maximize their waning political power in the state, they were following state rules that allowed it. And so were the Republicans who drew the new maps there after the 2010 census. As one of the Republican legislators put it, "I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats, so I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.” In true Woody Hayes fashion, he explained further that he had created the map to elect 10 Republicans and just three Democrats to Congress because he did "not believe it [would be] possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats.” 

That's a perfectly stated case of political warfare fought by the rules. Republicans' sweeping victory in North Carolina in the 2010 election — in districts that Democrats had drawn 10 years earlier, by the way — gave them the powers Democrats had exercised 10 years earlier. Only after Republicans started winning too many of these state-level elections did certain "good government" nonprofit groups suddenly decide there was a crisis afoot.

The Court’s decision in Rucho preserves its credibility and honors the Founders’ intentions for the judiciary.