Originally posted in Ozarks First on June 30, 2019.
The supreme court decided last week federal courts cannot rule on gerrymandering cases.
To divide or arrange (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group
“They did not rule, necessarily, that partisan gerrymandering was ‘OK’ or was constitutional. They simply said it is the kind decision that we feel is best for congress or the state legislatures to make,” said Dr. Daniel Ponder, a political Science Professor at Drury University.
What does this ruling mean for Missouri?
“It’s not clear. What this does mean, just like every other state, it leaves everything in place,” said Ponder. “So, it technically does not touch Clean Missouri, that can still go forward, but what it means is that both sides are really going to dig in now.”
Amendment One, or Clean Missouri, was approved by voters in November. It included a provision to have a nonpartisan state demographer to draw district lines.
During the last legislative session, Republican lawmakers attempted to roll back parts of the amendment, saying it would make Amendment One better. Others say they were attempting to overturn the will of the voters.
“I think there’s a lot of misnomers here,” Rep. Dean Plocher (R-St. Louis) said on the Missouri House of Representatives floor during the 2019 General Assembly. “We’re not overturning the will of the voters at all. In fact, I’m improving, I believe, on Amendment One through this process.”
“Because it didn’t rule whether they are good or bad, so it leaves standing Missouri’s amendment one, which was passed in November,” said Ann Elwell with the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri. “So, we still have fair maps in Missouri, which is a good thing.”
The bill to roll back parts of the amendment failed in the Missouri Senate.
Ponder says the Supreme Court made the decision it made because Gerrymandering is considered a “political issue,” which, the court does not weigh in on.
“A political issue is what the court feels is better decided by the elected branches,” said Ponder. “So, the congress, the president, state legislatures, etc.,” said Ponder.
Ponder says Republicans are likely to push for roll backs on Clean Missouri again in the next legislative session.