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One Senator's Rationale Against Partisan Gerrymandering

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged the Supreme Court today to decide that the mapping of congressional districts has become unconstitutionally driven to maximize political advantage for one party at the expense of voters' interests.

"The increase in partisan gerrymandering in recent years has been bolstered by the growing presence of 'dark money' in the American political system," he wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of striking down a North Carolina map overtly drawn to maximize the number of safe Republican red seats in a decidedly purple state. "Special interest groups, fueled by hidden funders with deep pockets and skin in the political game, are now focused on influencing redistricting. The payoff for these groups is obvious: By shaping the decennial re-districting process, special interest groups can affect the outcome of every congressional race in a state for the next decade. The role of dark money in this process is a bipartisan concern, as both Republicans and Democrats rely on this funding."

This month the court will hear oral arguments in the case and also a challenge to a Maryland congressional map drawn to give Democrats a lopsided advantage.

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