Two students from the Newhouse School have been selected to participate in the Carnegie-Knight News21 multimedia initiative. Michele Abercrombie, a graduate student in multimedia, photography and design, and Patrick Linehan, a junior in newspaper and online journalism, are part of…
Gerrymandering is the Same as Giving One Team Complete Control of the Scoreboard
Professor of Law Keith Bybee directs the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media (IJPM), a collaborative effort between the College of Law, the Maxwell School, and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. His areas of focus are the confluence of constitutional law, partisanship, and political compromise and fit with his civics and civility expertise. We asked him about the Supreme Court, which is hearing testimony on gerrymandering and tackling the important question, when does this political tactic become unconstitutional?
“During his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John Roberts famously declared that judges are like umpires whose job is to ensure fair play,” says Bybee. “The extreme political gerrymandering proliferating throughout the United States gives Roberts and the Supreme Court a chance to live up to his words. To give the majority party a completely free hand in drawing electoral districts is the same as giving one team complete control of the scoreboard. Fans will stop going to games if the Yankees always ‘win’ no matter how many homers their opponents hit. And people will stop turning out to polls if the party in power retains its majority no matter how few cast votes for it.”
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