The United States Supreme Court is being asked by the Department of Justice and several other parties to bypass an independent state legislature dispute. This issue has raised a lot of questions, perplexities and opinions from legal experts and the general public. We understand the urgency of this matter and the need for the Supreme Court to make a decision that will protect the US democratic process.
The dispute is centered around Arizona’s laws governing the redistricting process. In 2000, Arizona voters passed the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Act, which gave an independent commission, rather than the state legislature, the power to draw congressional and state legislative district lines. The Arizona Republican Party is now challenging this process as unconstitutional. The case is spearheaded by the Arizona State Legislature and has been heard in lower courts with differing outcomes. This lack of consensus is one of the main reasons why the Supreme Court has been asked to intervene.
The Department of Justice and the other parties argue that by enabling the independent commission to redraw the district lines, the people of Arizona are guaranteed a more impartial redistricting process, which will result in fair representation, free from political manipulation. This argument is being made in the belief that political gerrymandering has become a serious issue in modern American politics. While having a fair representation of the people in all districts is the cornerstone of any democratic system, others argue that it is the responsibility of the state legislature and not an independent commission to handle redistricting matters.
In 1962, the Supreme Court held in Baker v. Carr that federal courts had the authority to intervene in redistricting disputes, thereby setting in motion an avalanche of litigation. This litigation went on to establish a series of tests that courts could use to determine whether a particular redistricting plan was unconstitutional. One of the tests, the so-called “efficiency gap,” measures how often a party’s votes are “wasted” – i.e., cast in excess of what a party needs to win. The inefficiency gap is regarded as a useful tool for measuring partisan gerrymandering. The Supreme Court, in 2019, declined to strike down maps from North Carolina and Maryland that favored one political party over another, citing a lack of workable standards.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene in the political gerrymandering issue has led to the need for a more comprehensive solution from both federal and state authorities. It is believed that the Supreme Court can provide this solution through its intervention in the present case. The decision will have a significant impact on democratic processes not only in Arizona but also in other states that have similar independent redistricting schemes.
In summary, we believe the Supreme Court must carefully consider the arguments presented and decide whether the independent commission or state legislature should have control over redistricting matters in Arizona. It is essential that the Court promotes a fair and impartial electoral system that reflects the will of the people while also avoiding any possibility of political manipulation. This case presents an excellent opportunity for the Court to address the broader issue of political gerrymandering and choose a clear path forward for future electoral processes. We trust that the decision of the Supreme Court will be well reasoned and grounded in the principles of democratic jurisprudence.