Shelby County ruling could make it easier for states to get away with extreme racial gerrymandering

Legal experts are predicting great difficulties for the Department of Justice as the country enters its first redistricting period in over fifty years in which states and localities with a documented history of racial discrimination are not required to submit their redrawn electoral maps for federal “preclearance.” According to some legal analysts, the now-defunct “preclearance” policy not only gave the federal government the power to reject electoral maps that might have been designed to disadvantage minority voters, but also served as a deterrent to states that were not subject to the preclearance policy, by publicly demonstrating precisely which methods would draw lawsuits from the Department of Justice. It is now being argued that states intent on getting away with racially-motivated gerrymandering will have every incentive to submit their new maps at “the last minute,” in order to stymie potential civil rights lawsuits. 

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Image Credit: Victoria Pickering (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)