ICYMI: The big N.C. and Md. cases go back to the high court

Chris Satullo| March 28th, 2019

Activists express their views outside the Supreme Court on the day of the hearing. | Image Credit: NBC News

This has been a huge week for the redistricting issue, with the U.S. Supreme Court again taking up the question of whether gerrymandering can ever become so partisan as to be illegal.

At issue were cases from Maryland and North Carolina, which have been kicking around in the federal courts for a while.   All eyes were on the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, to assess how he might tip the balance on a topic that has long left the high court mired in stalemate.

His questions at Tuesday’s arguments left many wondering and debating whether he is the surefire vote against the plaintiffs in these cases that many suspected he would be.

Here’s a guide to some of the more useful journalism from the week:

Talking Points Memo

The left-leaning website offers a crisp rundown on why this round of review might be more decisive than past ones.

Sam Wang in The Atlantic

One of academe’s top experts on gerrymandering (and a friend of DTL) makes the case that, contrary to the “Big Sort” theory of the issue, that the partisan effects of election maps cannot be explained away by the tendency of Americans to live in like-minded political enclaves.

New York Times

On the eve of the hearing, the Times did its “Timesey” thing, a magisterial review of the history and the stakes of the cases.

Wall Street Journal oped

An op-ed by two legal scholars making the case that the courts have no business meddling with the constitutionally granted power of state legislatures to draw the lines.

USA Today

A clear, thorough rundown of Tuesday’s arguments, with a focus on Kavanaugh’s statements and questions.

National Public Radio

The dean of court correspondents, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, does her thing, reporting on Tuesday’s arguments.

Election Law Blog

This digital watering hole for some of the biggest brains in election law offers a number of interesting dissections of Tuesday’s arguments, with a focus on whether the issue of “proportional representation” that Kavanaugh raised is really the right question to be asking.

Gerrymandering Board Game

And just to get out of D.C. for a second, a student in Texas has created this game, which he’s shared with lawmakers.