How Fair is the Congressional Redistricting Process? Introduction: A Review of Literature How Fair is the Congressional Redistricting Process? Introduction: A Review of Literature Congressional restricting is a method by which the United States creates electoral boundaries to align with population fluctuations throughout the country…
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According to Hirsch (2003), the current congressional redistricting process veers significantly from the ideals proposed by the original Framers of the United States Constitution. These individuals created the House of Representatives, which was designed to both stand apart from the Senate, Presidency, and Supreme Court, as well as mediate these governmental entities. The 2001-2002 congressional redistricting efforts revealed the strong partisan bias that many critics contend is skewing redistricting maps and misrepresenting the peoples' true sentiments. Unfortunately, Hirsch (2003) argues that there is no easy cure for the biases in the congressional redistricting process. As long as a bipartisan system dominates pubic thought, redistricting will always favor one political side or the other in a given state. Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court will intervene with gerrymanders that prevent partisan biases, although state legislation must limit the extent to which redistricting reflects political factors on their own, rather than economic and social factors. McDonald (2004) notes that redistricting continues to be one of the most prevalent and contentious campaigns in the American political system. The United States utilizes multiple redistricting institutions, McDonald notes, which can be categorized into two types. First, some institutions engage in redistricting that follows normal legislative processes, and second, there are those that enact by way of a redistricting commission. In the former, one party tends to control state government and the redistricting process results in a political gerrymander. With the latter, commissions engage in voting and compromise to draw districting boundaries. Regardless of the redistricting institution, McDonald argues that with so much at stake, those involved in the redistricting process often behave in a one-sided fashion. Congressional redistricting will always result in either a partisan gerrymander, a bipartisan incumbent protection plan, or court intervention (McDonald, 2004). Karlan (2002) contends that the Supreme Court has been unwilling to apply any form of strict scrutiny in the past with regard to congressional redistricting and when faced with the prospect of re-segregating state legislatures and congressional delegations. In addition to partisan concerns, redistricting has been also driven by racial motivations and other minority-based social factors. According to Karlan (2002), the U.S. Constitution demands that states arrange electoral institutions to reduce any existing effects of prior redistricting discrimination. Such electoral districting promotes a racially-polarized voting pattern that undermines needs of minority racial groups. The Supreme Court is responsible for confront these discrimination sin the redistricting process and to promote an electoral system that is open to members of minority groups. The current flaws in the congressional redistricting process within the United States have caused the issue of fairness to be called into question. Fairness is a key component of congressional redistricting, as it reflects general American values and has far-reaching implications within the population. The concept of fairness is one that
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