On the final day of the 2019 Supreme Court session, the nation’s highest court ruled on the gerrymandering of Maryland’s congressional districts.
The majority opinion penned by Chief Justice John Roberts stated that federal courts do not have jurisdiction to rule on political questions. The cases Benisek v. Lamone and Rucho v. Common Cause dealt with the mapping of congressional districts in Maryland North Carolina. The Maryland case dealt with 66,000 Republicans being moved out of the 6th Congressional District in Western Maryland with a net increase of 24,000 Democrats. It was a solidly red district, but suddenly became a Democratic district. Most of the Republicans moved from the 6th district were moved to the 8th district, which itself remained a Democratic district. A federal court found this was intentional and punted the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan who was staunchly opposed to the redistricting which took place under the O’Malley administration released a statement saying:
“Today’s ruling was terribly disappointing to all who believe in fair elections. I pledge to vigorously continue this fight, both in Maryland and across our nation. Gerrymandering is wrong, and both parties are guilty. It stifles real political debate, contributes to our bitter partisan polarization, and deprives citizens of meaningful choices. The voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around. I will do everything in my power to restore free and fair elections for the people.
“The Supreme Court agrees that this is a matter for states and legislatures to address. Next year, I will again introduce redistricting reform legislation in Maryland to put the drawing of districts in the hands of a balanced, fair, and nonpartisan commission—instead of partisan politicians. This is a problem we can, should, and must solve. It is, and will continue to be, one of my highest priorities as governor.”