A number of prominent Republicans on Monday and filed amicus briefs imploring the Supreme Court to end gerrymandering. The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford [SCOTUSblog materials] on October 3. Prominent politicians who filed briefs urging the court to find gerrymandering unconstitutional include: John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse [brief, PDF] and John Kasich, Bob Dole, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Danforth and Richard Lugar, among others [brief, PDF]. A number of Republican organization filed briefs for the other side urging the court to reject a challenge to voting districts in Wisconsin.
Voting rights and how congressional districts are drawn have become increasingly contentious issues over the past few years. The Supreme Court agreed to hear this case [JURIST report] in June. Earlier the same month the Supreme Court affirmed [JURIST report] a lower court decision striking down a North Carolina state House and Senate redistricting effort as racial gerrymandering that disproportionately impacted black voters. In May the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] in Cooper v. Harris[SCOTUSblog materials] that North Carolina’s redistricting of Districts 1 and 12 was unconstitutional because the state “made no attempt to justify race-based districting there.” In January the Department of Justice [official website] sued [JURIST report] Detroit suburbs over a potential Voting Rights Act violation regarding the ability of minorities to elect other minority members as council members. In April 2016 the Supreme Court unanimously upheld [JURIST report] an Arizona commission’s decisions regarding the redistricting of voting districts in the state.