April 29, 2003

Redistricting and Race: A Continual Balancing Game

Whenever new census figures are released, states and local governments must draw new districting lines so as to correctly distribute votes among districts. The 1965 Voting Rights Act requires areas with a history of discrimination in elections to protect minorities' rights when drawing new voting districts. Democrats attempt to draw the lines so as to benefit Democratic candidates, Republicans attempt to draw the lines so as to benefit Republican candidates, and Libertarians attempt to find candidates anyone would vote for. Every ten years, courts are compelled to decide these things, and again, the issue came up before the Supreme Court today in Georgia v. Ashcroft, 02-182. The lower court rejected the boundaries as being in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It is Georgia, after all. Congress must decide in 2007 whether to renew the part of that law which is central to this case. The Supreme Court is asked to define the boundaries of the voting rights law. Says Justice Antonin Scalia: "Maybe if we make it bad enough, they'll think about repealing it."

Posted by Tiger at April 29, 2003 04:09 PM