On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Benisek v Lamone, a challenge to the gerrymandered sixth congressional district in Maryland drawn by Democrats.
Democrats had very few opportunities to draw congressional maps during this redistricting cycle because of the Republican wave during the 2010 midterm and a focused GOP strategy to win key state legislative chambers.
Maryland's sixth, however, may be one of the most gerrymandered in the nation: Tens of thousands of Republican voters were moved out of the district and replaced by Democrats. The Democratic consultants and congressional aides admit in emails and depositions that they intended to draw a map that sent 7 Democrats and 1 Republican to Washington -- but only because an 8-0 map would spread Democrats too thin and disadvantage incumbents.
The case revolves around a First Amendment challenge to partisan gerrymandering. The Maryland voters are arguing that the use of partisan data in drawing the districts penalizes them for their political opinions.
FairVote senior fellow David Daley writes about the case in Salon this morning, and talks exclusively with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican.
“There’s no question in my mind that partisan redistricting is a major reason for the partisan divide in America,” Hogan tells Daley. “Only the most partisan liberal Democrat or the most partisan right-wing Republican can get elected. They go to Washington or state capitals with no need to reach people on the other side, moderate their positions – or even consider someone else’s opinion.
“Charlie Baker, me in Maryland, Steve Bullock – a Democrat in Montana – we actually had to appeal to real people, people in the middle, even people of a different party, or we would not be elected and we couldn’t possibly get anything done."
Read the entire piece here.