A gerrymandering dirty dozen: The House’s worst districts
How do you know when you've seen a gerrymandered district? Maybe it looks like a duck or a snake, or a pair of earmuffs. Or maybe there's no obvious sign that the mapmakers played games with the contours in order to ensure a particular electoral outcome inside those boundaries.
The last contests using the current set of congressional maps are a year away. After that, the results of the 2020 census will be used for the redistricting of the entire country — assuring a fresh burst of gerrymandering by politicians with the power to draw maps designed for keeping themselves in power. (The North Carolina districts mentioned below are very likely to get altered before the next election, however, to settle a lawsuit alleging the current map favors Republicans so much as to violate the state Constitution's "fair elections" clause.)
We asked half a dozen people who have studied the way American political maps are drawn to reveal their best examples of the most flagrant current gerrymandering. Of course there are plenty of ways to approach that task. In some cases, the really odd shapes make it easier. In others, experts need to dive deep into demographic data to discover the most egregious examples of packing and cracking.
Congress may have given up on making Election Day a national holiday, but state lawmakers may have just begun their fight.
The catch-all reform bill passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives originally included language to make Election Day a national holiday. But even before the bill died on the steps of the Senate, House members stripped out that language.
But advocates for the cause can look to the statehouses, which are considering related legislation in record numbers.
In 2019, lawmakers in 23 states filed 47 bills related to Election Day holidays, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures and additional reporting.
The legal battle to pry loose President Trump's tax returns appears to be headed to defeat in the California Supreme Court, while numerous other efforts continue to move forward.
According to reporting by the Sacramento Bee, a majority of the justices on Wednesday appeared to side with Republicans challenging the new state law that would force Trump to release the last five years of his tax returns in order to get on the 2020 primary ballot.
During oral arguments, several of the justices aggressively questioned an attorney representing Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
"Where does it end? Do we get all high school report cards?" asked Justice Ming Chin, according to the Bee.
If the court strikes down the law (it has 90 days to reach a decision), the state could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"So even if President Trump were impeached and convicted, there is the possibility that he could be reelected to the same office from which he had been removed," writes Austin Sarat of Amherst College.
Civic Saturday is a gathering of friends and strangers in a common place to nurture a spirit of shared purpose. Join Citizen University on Nov. 16 to reflect and connect around the values and practices of being an active citizen, reckon with and reflect on our nation's creed, and build civic fellowship to create new civic traditions that are joyful and communal.