9 Gordon E. BakerSupreme Court decisions in 1983 ( Karcher v. Daggett (I), 462 U.S. 725
( 1983)) and 1986 ( Davis v. Bandemer, 106 S. Ct. 2797 ( 1986)) have
focused particular attention on the issue of political gerrymandering,
held justiciable by the Court (6-3) in the latter case. Yet Justice Byron
White's plurality opinion would confine judicial intervention to the
more serious instances of maldistricting as distinguished from the
usual, traditional partisan jockeying for political advantage. The
Court concluded that a decision holding Indiana's districting invalid
on the evidence presented "would invite attack on all or almost all
reapportionment statutes" ( Davis v. Bandemer, p. 2811).What, then, would comprise the kind of evidence the Court found
lacking in Indiana? Justice White suggested several possible indicators that might reveal an electoral scheme designed to thwart the
responsiveness of representation to electoral shifts of opinion ( Davis
v. Bandemer, p. 2812; see chapter 2). Since any single measure of
possible vote dilution might not be sufficiently conclusive to meet the
expectations outlined in Bandemer, we should survey several possible
indicia of political gerrymandering. In doing so, it might be helpful to
adapt a key phrase from the recent history of the Voting Rights Acts.
The term totality of circumstances became a central feature of the 1982
extension of the Act in an effort to reconcile those emphasizing
"intent" and those concerned with "effects" of voting laws and practices (including legislative redistricting) on the representation of racial
minorities. The pertinent section reads:
The "Totality of Circumstances"
|a. ||No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting or standard,|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Political Gerrymandering and the Courts.
Contributors: Bernard Grofman - Editor.
Publisher: Agathon Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1990.
Page number: 203.
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