Gerry Manders In Our States

Among the American virtues was the invention of “gerrymandering” back in the 19th century when the nation was young, and our congressional leaders were still learning the fine art of politics. And, so, in order to ensure that once elected, none of our beloved leaders should ever again be compelled to confront an electorate in which there might be people who voted the wrong way, state legislators developed intricate maps which twisted and wound their way through a state in order to guarantee the elected only were confronted by voters who had voted for them. Thus, the fine art of gerrymandering now results in over 80% of our beloved congressmen virtually assured of re-election. For some strange reason, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis in Florida decided there was something wrong with this system. He wrote a 41 page decision which declares invalid most congressional seats in the state.

He offered proof that Republican legislators relied upon the advice and map skills of political consultants in drawing up safe congressional seats. Naturally, Republicans wound up with most of the seats. Heck, in the last presidential election, Democratic candidates for Congress received a million more votes than Republicans, but Republicans won a 25 seat majority in the House of Representatives. Lewis argues consultants “engaged in a conspiracy to influence and manipulate the legislature.”

It is about time in America to turn over to an impartial agency the task of drawing up congressional seat boundaries. How about entrusting the American Bar Association with that task?