reviews & endorsements

Under what circumstances can minorities defeat majorities in American democracy? Blending incisive legal analysis, with insights from social choice theory, McGann, Smith, Latner, and Keena explain how a largely unnoticed court case has allowed the Republican Party to violate the fundamental democratic principle of one man one vote to ensure their control of the House of Representatives. Employing rigorous empirical analysis, the authors provide a death-blow to political scientists' prevailing wisdom that, when it comes to redistricting, demography is destiny … Important, accessible, and timely, this book will generate controversy among scholars of redistricting. It is essential reading for students of American politics, as well as anyone who wants to better understand today's political climate. 

--Benjamin G. Bishin, University of California, Riverside


[This book] makes a rigorously argued case that partisan gerrymandering - unrestricted after Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) - has emerged as a serious problem for democratic representation and proposes to solve it through an innovative legal strategy, rooted in social choice theory, designed to persuade courts to reconsider the issue from a new perspective. It is easily the most original and important work on partisan gerrymandering to appear since the Court's ruling.

--Gary Jacobson, University of California, San Diego


Translating votes into a fair division of seats is a fundamental challenge of democracy. The authors powerfully demonstrate how the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004) set the stage for at least a decade of partisan gerrymanders and systematic bias in favor of Republicans.

--Matthew Lebo, State University of New York, Stony Brook


The authors do a tremendous job covering the legal background and political implications of gerrymandering and explaining the data analysis required for the book. The empirical evidence they marshal is thorough, and convincingly demonstrates that the increased partisan bias after the 2010 redistricting indeed stemmed from politics, not from accidents of geography. ... I highly recommend this book to students and scholars of representation and redistricting.

-- Thomas L. Brunell, 2017, Congress and the Presidency 44(1):


McGann et al. explain how partisan gerrymandering allowed a minority of voters to elect a majority of the US House of Representatives in 2012 and created a virtual Republican lock on the institution until 2020. The authors make a provocative argument about the signal sent by the Supreme Court's Vieth v. Jubelirer decision, which they claim encouraged state legislatures to maximize partisan advantage in competitive states … This book represents the best of social science research by addressing a relevant topic, embracing normative implications for democratic theory, and offering guidelines to ensure popular sovereignty.

--T. Lynch, Choice

Comments