“Fair and effective representation for all citizens,” the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, is a requirement of democracy. In the half-century since that decision, however, the court has declined several chances to strike down a practice that undermines this standard. Now it has another opportunity, and it should not let it go to waste.
There are good reasons for the court’s reticence about gerrymandering, the practice of drawing legislative districts to exploit partisan advantage. Partisan loyalties are fluid, and there’s no “apolitical” way to draw voting districts. The court is also mindful of the legislative branch’s prerogative to conduct its own affairs. Nevertheless, the court has accepted a Wisconsin case that shows a way to make congressional elections more fair and efficient.