Gerrymandering Ourselves

Aug 6, 2018

Recently the Supreme Court reviewed without rejecting the partisan practice of redistricting -- "Gerrymandering." Critics charged the Court with ignoring a national outrage. This criticism is both dangerous and misguided. 

 
It is dangerous because it threatens the separation of powers. Judges are not roving problem solvers. Courts apply general rules to specific cases. The facts of the case must be suitable for the application of a general rule. The rule must be neutral to the different parties and fact patterns of diverse cases. 
 
Few issues diverge more from these requirements than Gerrymandering. Redistricting is a supremely political act. Partisanship is inherent, therefore, redistricting issues do not lend themselves to rule oriented, judicial resolution. The term of art is "justiciability". 
 
Criticism of the Court is also misguided. Gerrymandering does not cause hyperpartisanship. Hyperpartisanship is both endemic and epidemic. We must not confuse cause and effect. We are deeply divided, divided even physically. Americans now tend to congregate with like-minded citizens. An insightful book calls this "The Big Sort". 
 
We speak of red states and blue states, but maps reveal red and blue counties and townships. Some maps even show red and blue neighborhoods. As long as Republicans and Democrats sort themselves homogeneously all the prating on about Gerrymandering just misses the point. I'm Bob Evans and that is my perspective.