Gerrymandering Case to be Heard by Supreme Court

Jul 26, 2017

Former President Obama and other leading Democrats are making their first moves this month on a push to change how states draw congressional districts.

Obama returned to politics as the headliner of a July 13 fundraiser for a Democratic group that plans to fight for more equitable congressional and state legislative districts after the 2020 census.

Voter rights groups aren’t waiting for 2020 – they have launched legal challenges to strike down congressional maps in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Maryland ahead of the 2018 elections. Some of the lawsuits champion a new, mathematical approach to proving partisan gerrymandering that will be tested at the Supreme Court this fall in a case about Wisconsin’s State Assembly districts, Gill v. Whitford.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls this case “the most important” case of the next term.

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa State University political analysts, Dave Andersen and Jim McCormick, about the implications of the case.

“This could be one of those Supreme Court cases that we talk about for a generation," says Andersen. "If you look at the United States right now, probably the biggest problem we face domestically is partisanship. It’s polarization. It’s the idea that our political leaders don’t talk to each other if they’re from different parties. One of the causes of this is gerrymandering because it creates a lot safe districts that the party in power stays in power and they don’t need to talk to the other party. And that poisons the well of politics.”

They also discuss the latest on the health care debate, President Trump’s attacks on his attorney general, and the Russia probe.