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Rucho v. Common Cause

The U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases in 2019 challenging partisan gerrymandering in Maryland and North Carolina. In an amicus brief, the SPLC and other advocacy groups urged the court to uphold lower court rulings that struck down the districts as unconstitutional.

“Election manipulation through partisan gerrymandering undermines faith in America’s most basic civic principle: the right of the people to elect their representatives and to ensure that their elected representatives remain accountable to them,” the amicus brief states.

The high court heard Rucho v. Common Cause, which alleged that Republican lawmakers in North Carolina manipulated voting software to eliminate or reduce the ability of Democratic candidates to win in certain congressional districts. The other case, Lamone v. Benisek, alleged the Democratic Party in Maryland used the same tactics for its own political ends.

On June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court found that partisan gerrymandering claims represent political questions outside the scope of federal courts, a decision that left the North Carolina and Maryland congressional districts – and future partisan gerrymandering claims around the country – beyond the reach of the federal courts.