Gerrymandering in America

The Supreme Court's plurality decision in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) permitted state governments to manipulate congressional districting to advance partisan ends. My work on partisan gerrymandering with Anthony J. McGann, Charles Anthony Smith, and Michael Latner quantifies the magnitude and scope of biased districting and presents a legal strategy for challenging unlawful partisan gerrymanders in the courts.

Publications and Press

Cambridge Book

This book considers the causes and consequences of partisan gerrymandering in the U.S. House. The Supreme Court’s decision in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) made challenging a district plan on grounds of partisan gerrymandering practically impossible. Through a rigorous scientific analysis of U.S. House district maps, the authors argue that partisan bias increased dramatically in the 2010 redistricting round after the Vieth decision at both the national and state levels. From a constitutional perspective, unrestrained partisan gerrymandering poses a critical threat to a central pillar of American democracy – popular sovereignty. State legislatures now effectively determine the political composition of the U.S. House. The book answers the Court’s challenge to find a new standard for gerrymandering that is both constitutionally grounded and legally manageable. It argues that the scientifically rigorous partisan symmetry measure is an appropriate legal standard for partisan gerrymandering, as it is a necessary condition of individual equality and can be practically applied.

2015. Election Law Journal 14(4): 295-311.

The case of Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) challenges us to find a standard for partisan gerrymandering that is judicially discernable and manageable. Without such a standard even the most egregious partisan gerrymanders cannot be effectively challenged. However, we argue that the way to find a suitable standard isnot to embark on a quest for a ‘‘new’’standard. Rather it is to take the existing valid measures that science gives us, and show that these can be grounded in constitutionally protected rights. Using recent results in social choice theory, we show that the existing partisan symmetry standard can be derived from an individual right to equal protection. We also show that the existing technology for measuring partisan symmetry can provide a judicially manageable test for partisan bias.

News & Blogs:

"The Supreme Court's quiet gerrymandering revolution and the road to minority rule." London School of Economics USAPP blog. Oct. 25, 2017.

"Revenge of the Anti-Federalists: What is at Stake with Vieth and the Gerrymandering of Congress." Election Law Blog (with A.J. McGann, C.A. Smith and M. Latner). Oct. 26, 2016.

Republicans will likely keep their House majority – even if Clinton wins by a landslide – and it’s because of partisan gerrymandering. Here’s how we know.” Political Studies Association (U.K.) Political Insight blog (with A.J. McGann, C.A. Smith and M. Latner). Oct. 18, 2016.

"A Crisis of Representation." Balkinization blog (with A.J. McGann, C.A. Smith and M. Latner). Oct. 6, 2016.

"Why the House will remain Republican however we vote." Newsweek (with A.J. McGann, C.A. Smith and M. Latner). Oct. 2, 2016.

Why the Republicans will Retain the House in 2016…and 2018…and 2020.” London School of Economics United States Politics and Policy blog post (with A.J. McGann, C.A. Smith and M. Latner). Sept. 22, 2016.


"2016 Election: When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro." July 21, 2016, Interview with KCBX Radio, Central Coast Voices.

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