The Supreme Court is set to hear a case concerning gerrymandering in Alabama, specifically the recent case spearheaded by Alabama Republicans.
For those who are unaware, the dictionary definition of gerrymandering is to “manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.” Generally, as is the case with the current Alabama ballyhoo, politicians squeeze or stretch the lines of voting districts in an effort to stack them in their favor or to hurt their opponent.
The case that the Supreme Court will be hearing concerns changes made in 2010 by Alabama’s majority Republican legislature which consolidated black voters into already majority black districts. The intended outcome of this is obvious: if Southern black voters, who generally vote for Democrats, are consolidated together into voting districts, their vote will have less of an impact in elections.
This is obviously a difficult issue for the Supreme Court to take up because some gerrymandering is legal and pretty much standard protocol. The question comes in determining if the new district lines were drawn with partisanship in mind, which is fine, or with race in mind, which is not OK. This is a much more convoluted issue than I am able to judge – I don’t have a law degree and, despite the high regard in which I hold myself, I’ve never been at the helm of a courtroom or a voting district.
However, I do know this: Republicans in this state have had a history of bad behavior, to put it mildly, and it would be hard for any contemporary, Southern conservative to convince me that they made the changes with the best interest of the people in mind.
Sadly, that’s not the issue – our law actually allows for politicians to lump people into voting districts to stack bigger districts with their constituents in an effort to affect the outcome of elections. Therefore, it is not the indecency of southern conservatives that is the root of this problem, it is the age-old practice of gerrymandering that should truly be on trial.
The fact that it is completely acceptable for politicians to remap districts to fit their needs is pure absurdity and acts in direct opposition to the tenets of justice and equality that our country is supposed to represent. Whether Democrats or Republicans, politicians should have no right to step up to the plate with a loaded bat.
Perhaps, in an effort to stack our districts equally with no regard to race or party affiliation, as should be the way in an equal and civilized society, the majority party shouldn’t have reign over the redistricting process. Contrarily, a board made up of equal portions from each part could be assembled to map out districts that everyone can agree on.
Then, maybe, the next time I hear about Alabama on a national news outlet it won’t be something controversial, possibly racist and overtly embarrassing.
Crossposted from Piece of Mind.
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