As Court Punts on Gerrymandering, Cooper Says Congress Should Clean Up Redistricting Process
WASHINGTON – In the wake of several recent Supreme Court decisions that have dodged the question of gerrymandering, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today reiterated his belief that Congress should pass legislation that would help eliminate the partisan redrawing of voting districts.
"Gerrymandering undermines our democracy and minimizes the power of the American people. Both political parties are guilty of manipulating districts for political gain, depending on which party is in control,” Rep. Cooper said. “Instead of waiting for the Supreme Court to rule, Congress should pass real reform to clean up the redistricting process. Democracy is being threatened and voting rights are at risk."
Often described as politicians choosing their voters, gerrymandering is the purposeful manipulation of geographical voting districts so that one party is favored over another. Last week, the Supreme Court sidestepped the central question of partisan gerrymandering in cases in Maryland and Wisconsin. This week, the Supreme Court decided to avoid answering similar questions in a North Carolina case.
Meanwhile, in Abbott v. Perez, a majority of Supreme Court justices overturned the orders of a three-judge court in the Western District of Texas, which originally found that Texas’ redistricting maps were tainted by discriminatory intent. Justice Sonia Sotomayor condemned the decision in her dissent. She wrote: “After undeniable proof of intentional discrimination, minority voters in Texas—despite constituting a majority of the population within the State—will continue to be underrepresented in the political process.”
Rep. Cooper is the chief sponsor of two bills to reform redistricting and bring accountability and transparency to the process.