Domesticating the Gerrymander: An Essay on Standards, Fair Representation, and the Necessary Question of Judicial Will
21 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2005 Last revised: 14 Jun 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court has moved beyond its cautious intervention in Baker v. Carr and now firmly controls the law of democracy. Yet political gerrymandering questions so understood have traditionally proven difficult for the Court to examine properly. The recent Vieth v. Jubelirer is but a further example of this phenomenon. This Essay situates Vieth within the reapportionment revolution and ultimately concludes that the central question in gerrymandering cases is the question of judicial will and whether the Court will choose to exercise its power. This Essay closes with a cautionary note: in light of the Court's general performance in the field of democracy and its propensity to wield its power in accordance with its idiosyncratic views of the political process and the maladies that corrupt it, do we really want the Court doing our bidding?
Keywords: law of democracy, gerrymandering, political questions, judicial review
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