Republicans are on a power grab binge after the Supreme Court opened the door: columnist
Chief Justice John Roberts (screengrab)

In a column for the Atlantic, longtime political observer David Graham pointed out that the Republican Party is taking full advantage of a 2019 Supreme Court ruling and comments from Chief Justice John Roberts to make it harder for Democrats to win elections.

As Graham noted, in 2019, five conservative justices waved away complaints from plaintiffs "who alleged that congressional districts were drawn with such exaggeratedly distorting effects that they violate the Constitution" and said that it was out of their hands to intervene.

In particular, Justice Roberts admitted that the "distorted maps" seemed "incompatible with democratic principles," but said nothing could be done about it at the court level.

With that in mind, Graham suggested the GOP-dominated legislatures are going all out to secure an advantage with gerrymandering.

Pointing to North Carolina lawmaker David Lewis who boasted in 2016, "I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it's possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats," Graham claimed that Lewis's dream is coming true.

Writing that North Carolina is not a deep red state -- and barely went for Donald Trump over Joe Biden, -- Graham explained "Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly approved new maps for electing state legislators and U.S. representatives. The results are what you'd expect for a red state: Of the 14 U.S. House districts, including a new seat added after the latest census, Republicans can expect to win nine, 10, or perhaps 11; they can also expect strong and possibly veto-proof majorities in the state legislature."

Continuing to focus on North Carolina, he added, "After the U.S. House maps were tossed in 2016 as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders, Republicans designed new ones that relied on solely partisan data, not race (though there's a strong correlation between Black and Democratic voters in North Carolina)," adding that despite complaints, "Roberts's majority opinion slammed the door shut on federal-court action against partisan gerrymanders, saying it was a matter for state courts or Congress."

He concluded, "This makes for a bleak landscape. Any scheme that takes a roughly 50-50 population and produces a result as skewed as 10–4 or 11–3 in House seats can hardly be called fair or democratic, as Roberts acknowledged. Yet that doesn't mean the arrangement is unconstitutional or illegal. With the courts walking away, the only remedy is for proponents of a fairer system to win legislatures and Congress and change the laws—a task that slanted maps make harder, if not impossible, to achieve."

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