Tag: Redistricting

SCOTUS: The Next Big Case


Unless you’re a long-time legislative redistricting activist or watcher, you’d be forgiven for not knowing who the late U.S. Rep. Phil Burton (D-CA) was.

Burton, a hard lefty and an intensely partisan Democrat, enjoyed encyclopedic knowledge of California geography and demographics. Elected to the California legislature in 1956, he was in charge of redistricting right after the 1960 census. In 1964, he was elected to the U.S. House from San Francisco. Along with this brother and fellow U.S. Rep. John Burton, he engineered subsequent drawings of California’s congressional lines to ensure our largest state’s delegation was solidly Democratic, at least until he passed away in 1983.

Seeking a Way Out of Redistricting Chaos


New York’s congressional politics have been thrown into chaos by a recent decision of Patrick McAllister, a Republican trial judge in an upstate New York state court. His new claim to fame is that he approved a new congressional districting map in the intensely litigated reapportionment case of Harkenrider v. Hochul. New York needed a new district map because the state lost one congressional seat in the 2020 census and experienced population shifts that resulted in malapportionment, since the previous map had been drawn in 2012.

In the game of musical chairs that followed the loss of that seat, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law in February 2022 an avowedly partisan map that left the Democrats with majorities in twenty-two of New York’s twenty-six congressional districts. The New York State Court of Appeals (the state’s highest) frowned on the map’s blatantly partisan nature, and kicked the matter back down to McAllister. The judge promptly enlisted Jonathan Cervas, a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University with expertise in map drawing, to prepare the new map. Cervas took testimony from all interest groups. He responded to criticisms, for example, that questioned the wisdom of breaking up a large black community in Brooklyn into two separate districts—a move that had been savagely attacked by Representative Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn as “enough to make Jim Crow blush.”

McAllister approved Cervas’s map and immediately postponed the congressional primaries from June 28, 2022, to August 23, a move promptly upheld in federal district court. The final approval of the map set off rapid political maneuvers, as the new district lines departed sufficiently from the old ones to turn former allies into instant combatants. The highest-profile of these new contests pits Congressman Jerry Nadler, who has long represented Manhattan’s West Side, against Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who has long controlled the East Side. In a separate struggle fraught with racial overtones, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney did not have to leave his Cold Spring home in the old 18th District to run again the black progressive Mondaire Jones in the new 17th District. But Jones instead chose to seek re-election in the new 10th District—which runs from Greenwich Village in Manhattan to the strong Orthodox Jewish community of Borough Park in Brooklyn. So now it appears that Sean Maloney will have to run against progressive state senator Alessandra Biaggi, who plans to move to the new 17th District in opposition to Maloney, whom she brands “a corporate, selfish Democrat.”

Join Jim and Greg as they analyze a new  meta-study that finds COVID lockdowns were futile in preventing deaths. They exhale in relief as intercepted Russian military communications reveal a hesitancy on the part of some officials to launch a full scale invasion of Ukraine. And they criticize cowardly Republicans for allowing Democrats to gain an advantage in House of Representatives redistricting across the country.


Join Jim and Greg as they welcome evaluations showing the GOP likely to gain seats – and a House majority – thanks to redistricting. They also frown as former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t face any charges for his COVID nursing home cover-up or his harassment of women. And they shudder at the 24-hour-plus nightmare for travelers on I-95 in Virginia, wondering why Gov. Ralph Northam didn’t take decisive action sooner and why so many people are blaming Glenn Youngkin, who won’t be governor until next week.

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Democrat gerrymanders in Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, California and elsewhere have already netted them +6 congressional seats. The “Nonpartisan” commission in Michigan eliminated a Republican seat. Maryland’s new map all but guarantees the elimination of its one remaining Republican representative. New York and Pennsylvania have not approved their redistricting plans, but will likely provide the […]

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Someone with time, money, and skills should create a congressional redistricting AI that would draw congressional districts based only on population, and prioritizing compactness geographical continuity (taking into account county lines and geographical features like rivers and mountain ranges); completely disregarding voting patterns and partisan alignment.  It would be interesting to see how a completely […]

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Having just read @rushbabe‘s post on Ricochet as a family, I reflected on the fact that I get a lot more substantive feedback about my role as a legislator here than I’d ever get from my own family. With that in mind, some of you have shown interest in keeping up with what’s happening in […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they cautiously welcome the new shifting of congressional seats based upon the 2020 U.S. Census and the opportunity for Republicans to win a House majority. They also roll their eyes as John Kerry denies telling Iran’s foreign minister about covert Israeli operations in Syria while former Obama official Ben Rhodes comes up with a completely contradictory defense of Kerry’s actions.  And they sigh as Rep. Liz Cheney says she hasn’t decided one way or another on a 2024 presidential bid.

Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate Republicans doing much better than expected at the state legislative level just in time for redistricting. They also discuss the ongoing controversies in multiple swing states and how the vote counting is creating a lot of mistrust in the integrity of the vote. And they look at the updated Georgia numbers, which suggest two U.S. Senate races are headed to runoffs and the results could well determine the majority.

Richard Epstein reacts to the news that Anthony Kennedy is retiring from the Supreme Court, speculates on his possible replacements, and explains the potential implications for constitutional law.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Rich McFadden of Radio America react to news of yet another terror attack in the UK which targeted British Muslims outside of a London mosque after their evening prayers for Ramadan. They also discuss the Supreme Court’s announcement that they will take up the partisan gerrymandering case in the state of Wisconsin to determine whether or not the act is unconstitutional. And they respond to Erick Erickson’s sensationalist comments as he refers to the left as “America’s ISIS” and advocates for state secession.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s CNN interview, in which she states that the Senate Judiciary Committee should investigate former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for potentially politicizing the Hillary Clinton investigation. They also react as Feinstein goes on to change the Democratic Party narrative from collusion with Russia to President Trump’s obstruction of justice. And they express little sympathy for Wisconsin Democrats accusing Republicans of partisan redistricting and Jim unloads on liberals who consistently claim an act is unconstitutional if it does not fit with their agenda.

The Supreme Court is Wrong: Get Race Out of Redistricting


Last week, the Supreme Court, in the case of Alabama Black Caucus v. Alabama, overturned a redistricting plan for Alabama’s State Legislature, with the Court’s majority (the four liberals and Justice Kennedy) arguing that the new district lines didn’t do enough to preserve the influence of black voters. As I write in my new column for Defining Ideasit’s a mistake to accept the redistricting status quo in which the majority party (Republicans, in Alabama) constructs relatively safe districts for itself and then gives the minority party a handful of even safer seats as compensation. As I write:

In a sensible world, the best counter to these dangerous tendencies uses explicit formal requirements to remove this unpleasant form of tit-for-tat politics. Two constraints, taken together, could achieve this result in a relatively simple fashion. The first is to stick with a requirement of rough numerical equality across districts. The second is to require relatively compact districts, which look more like simple squares than some grotesque 28-sided monster that white citizens (outnumbered by 4 to 1) consciously created in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1957 to block the possibility that newly enfranchised black residents would soon take over local politics. Six years after Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court in Gomillion v. Lightfoot struck down this ploy under the Fifteenth Amendment, which provides that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”