AWKWARD: Lawmakers Say They Didn’t Mean To Sign This Supreme Court Brief

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Two Republican members of Congress say they accidentally signed their names to a Supreme Court brief urging the justices to restrict partisan gerrymandering.

GOP Reps. Mark Meadows and Walter Jones signed an amicus (or friend-of-the-court) brief in Gill v. Whitford, a marquee case in which the justices will consider the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering. Meadows and Jones were originally signatories to a brief from a bipartisan coalition of politicians urging the Court to find the practice unconstitutional, but the duo said Friday they did not mean to sign the brief.

“As he does with all action items, Congressman Meadows indicated he would be willing to review the amicus brief but never intended to formally sign on,” Meadows spokesman Ben Williamson told the Raleigh News & Observer. “His name was added in error and has been removed from the brief. We continue to enjoy a tremendous working relationship with the North Carolina state legislature and are grateful for everything they do.”

A spokeswoman for Jones also attributed the appearance of his name to an error.

“Gerrymandering” refers to the practice of drawing legislative district lines to favor incumbents, political parties or interest groups. Although the justices have frequently invalidated district maps that disadvantage minorities, they have stopped short of striking down maps favoring one political party over the other.

A ruling that partisan gerrymanders are unlawful would dramatically recast the apportionment process and shuffle the balance of power in Congress and state legislatures.

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