Oxford Handbook of American Election Law, Forthcoming
23 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2022
Date Written: December 5, 2022
This chapter addresses the law and academic literature about partisan gerrymandering: crafting districts with the intent and effect of benefiting the line-drawing party. With respect to the law, the chapter covers the depressing arc of federal anti-gerrymandering legislation as well as the somewhat more encouraging record of state constitutional litigation. The chapter further discusses enacted state and proposed federal redistricting reforms, in particular, requirements that districts be designed by independent commissions. With respect to the academic literature, the chapter surveys four live debates: whether gerrymandering should be conceived in terms of intent or effect; whether the impact of gerrymandering should be assessed using absolute or relative measures; what the main drivers of district plans’ partisan biases are; and how these biases affect broader democratic values. The ongoing contributions to these and other debates show that, while gerrymandering may no longer be justiciable in federal court, it remains an active topic of legal and political science scholarship.
Keywords: partisan gerrymandering, redistricting, redistricting commissions, partisan symmetry, efficiency gap, redistricting simulations, political geography, representation
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