Republican Gov. Larry Hogan condemned the conservative U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that policing partisan congressional redistricting falls outside federal courts' authority, letting Maryland’s Democrat-benefitting districts stand.
The court's conservatives voted together to decline to intervene in two instances of gerrymandering: North Carolina congressional district lines drawn to favor Republicans and Maryland district lines designed to benefit Democrats.
“Today’s ruling was terribly disappointing to all who believe in fair elections,” Hogan wrote in a news release.
The Maryland district map, which allowed Democrat and presidential candidate John Delaney to flip a seat Republicans had held for decades, will stand until lines are redrawn after the 2020 Census.
“Gerrymandering is wrong, and both parties are guilty,” Hogan wrote.
The court’s holding—“partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts”— ensures the same partisan process could happen again following the Census, free of court intervention.
“It stifles real political debate, contributes to our bitter partisan polarization, and deprives citizens of meaningful choices. The voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around,” Hogan wrote.
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Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion that asking the courts to pass laws to prevent politically oriented districts would be "an unprecedented expansion of judicial power," but states and Congress could pass laws to address the issue.
Meanwhile, liberal Justice Elena Kagan delivered a stinging dissent opinion: "For the first time ever, this court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities."
Hogan said he plans to re-introduce redistricting reform legislation in Maryland to shift the responsibility of drawing districts from partisan politicians to an impartial committee.
“I pledge to vigorously continue this fight, both in Maryland and across our nation,” Hogan wrote.