The Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday unanimously upheld [opinion, PDF] an Arizona commission’s decisions regarding the redistricting of voting districts in the state. The claim from Republicans in the state was that the reapportionment of votes resulted in a discriminatory distribution favoring the Democratic Party. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the unanimous decision, “as the district court concluded, the deviations predominantly reflected Commission efforts to achieve compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, not to secure political advantage for one party.” However, the one-person, one-vote principle “does not demand mathematical perfection.” The court unanimously held that because of the low percentage differences from district to district, the drawings were constitutional.
Voting rights remain a controversial legal issue in the US. Also this week a panel of federal judges rejected a motion [order, PDF] by Representative Corrine Brown [official profile] challenging the current congressional district boundaries in Florida [JURIST report]. Last month the Supreme Court heard oral arguments [JURIST report] regarding an election district plan for Virginia’s Third Congressional District. This district was altered in 2012 in a manner that increased the already majority-African American population, and the district court found the plan unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. In November the court heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in a challenge to the Three Judge Court Act, which requires the convening of a three-judge district court to decide certain important lawsuits such as those concerning voter redistricting. In June the court ruled [JURIST report] that the Elections Clause of the US Constitution permits the state of Arizona to adopt a commission to draw congressional districts. Last April the court threw out [JURIST report] a North Carolina court ruling that upheld Republican-drawn electoral districts for state and congressional lawmakers.