Marquee cases at the U.S. Supreme Court tend to be an odd spectacle, and Tuesday’s case on gerrymandering was no exception.
The justices heard oral arguments Tuesday in Gill v. Whitford, a case concerning the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering, a redistricting practice in which legislators draw district maps that favor one party over the other. The justices struggled over questions of standing and standards, but by the end of the arguments it appeared clear that the Court’s four liberal justices were prepared to find political gerrymanders unconstitutional, while the four conservatives appeared reluctant to thrust the courts into the political fray. Per the usual, Justice Anthony Kennedy offered few hints as to his position and will cast the deciding vote.
Outside the Court, movie star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rallied a crowd that had gathered to protest partisan gerrymanders. Schwarzenegger is a fierce critic of gerrymandering, and championed a reform measure called Proposition 11 to establish the nonpartisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission, a panel tasked with drawing fair district maps. He also raises money through a CrowdPAC to finance redistricting challenges.
“Congress would never, ever fix this problem,” he said. “They have one interest and one interest only, and that is to stay in power.”
“Nothing is getting done, and at the same time 98 percent of them are getting reelected,” he added. “So you know it’s a fixed system.”
He then channeled one of his iconic lines.
“I say it is time to say ‘hasta la vista’ to gerrymandering,” he said.
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