Court Rules Against GOP For Blatant Map Gerrymandering

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On Monday, the Oregon state Supreme Court “dismissed two cases challenging the validity of Oregon’s newly passed legislative districts, finding that neither petition had proven that the maps violate the Oregon Constitution,” as summarized by the voting rights organization Democracy Docket. The organization characterizes the Oregon state court’s decision as “the first legal decision regarding new maps enacted following the release of 2020 census data and a blow to Republicans who had challenged the maps hoping to get them thrown out.”

The cases that were dismissed include Sheehan v. Oregon Legislative Assembly and Calderwood v. Oregon Legislative Assembly. In the first case, those behind it “argued that the Legislative Assembly allegedly ignored public input on the maps by failing to hold in-person hearings (remote hearings were held due to COVID-19 concerns) and drew legislative districts to favor Democrats,” Democracy Docket explains, but the court found that in-person hearings (as opposed to the virtual ones) were not required under state law and that arguments regarding the supposed slant towards Democrats were “unpersuasive, largely because they rely on debatable and unsubstantiated assumptions about the reasons underlying the Legislative Assembly’s actions.”

In the other case, those responsible for it also lodged the argument that districts had been drawn to unfairly favor Democrats, but the court found there to be “logical reasons” underlying the shaping of the particular districts under scrutiny, rather than determining the lines to be based in some kind of partisan agenda. Read more at this link.

Elsewhere in the country, Republican state officials have put clearly corrupt district maps in place. In Ohio, for instance, Republican Governor Mike DeWine recently signed lines into law that would seemingly put Republicans on track to control 80 percent of the state’s U.S. House seats, despite the fact that Trump won there with a much smaller majority just last year, meaning that the distribution of seats doesn’t seem to appropriately reflect the state population’s political persuasion. Also in Ohio, the city of Cincinnati was split from its suburbs, with each area tacked onto a decidedly Republican-leaning district — thereby impeding the ability of the local Black community to substantively exercise the voice that it’s supposed to have in the selection of representatives.