Flicker of hope

The Supreme Court's decision allows a lower court to throw out a redistricting plan that gerrymandered Georgia voters.

Published: Sunday, August 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 31, 2004 at 10:50 p.m.
One of the Supreme Court's final decisions before ending its 2003-2004 session gave a flicker of hope that it might act eventually to crack down on some of the more egregious political gerrymandering that happens in state legislatures.
The court let stand an appellate court ruling that threw out a congressional redistricting plan in Georgia that was blatantly drawn up to favor Democrats. Several justices have said that such gerrymandering is wrong, but the court has never said so. In fact, only Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the court has no jurisdiction to consider that issue.
The court may get a chance to speak clearly on the subject when it gets an appeal of a Texas case in which the redistricting was done for the sole purpose of benefiting Republicans. Since political gerrymandering has the bottom-line effect of preventing millions of voters from having a clear choice in the selection of their representatives in Congress, the court ought to put a stop to it.

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