For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Political Gerrymandering and the Courts
(Vol. 3 in the Agathon series on representation)
  • Bernard Grofman et al.
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Political Gerrymandering and the Courts. (Vol. 3 in the Agathon series on representation)
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Partisan gerrymandering is a legalistic ploy that has been used time and again to shift and distort the expected outcome of elections. Court intervention to end egregious is necessary for a number of reasons, and the scholarly essays in this volume give ample evidence why.


About the Author

The editor, Bernard Grofman, is an authority on American politics, comparative election systems, and social choice theory. He has served as an expert witness or court-appointed consultant in state legislative and congressional lawsuits in 11 states. Grofman has been a Professor of Political Science at the University of California–Irvine since 1980. He has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, visiting professor at the University of Michigan and at the University of Washington, and guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and at a number of universities outside the U.S. His past research has dealt with mathematical models of group decision making, legislative representation, electoral rules, and redistricting. He has also been involved in modeling individual and group information processing and decision heuristics, and he has written on the intersection of law and social science, especially the role of expert witness testimony and the uses of statistical evidence. Currently he is working on comparative politics and political economy. He is co-author of two books published by Cambridge University Press and co-editor of 15 other books; he has published over 200 research articles and book chapters. Professor Grofman is a past president of the Public Choice Society. He is a co-recipient (with Chandler Davidson) of the Richard Fenno Prize of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association for best book published in 1994 in the field of legislative studies (Quiet Revolution In The South) and is a Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

About the Book

This volume is motivated by three concerns. First is the belief that the issue of political gerrymander will play a significant (although far from dominant) role in redistricting litigation in the 1990s and thereafter. In the...

This volume is motivated by three concerns. First is the belief that the issue of political gerrymander will play a significant (although far from dominant) role in redistricting litigation in the 1990s and thereafter. In the 1980s, the legislative and/or congressional redistricting plans of all but a handful of states were subject to lawsuits (Grofman, 1985a). Many of these lawsuits involved the issue of racial vote dilution (Grofman, Migalski, and Noviello, 1985). In the 1980s hundreds of local jurisdictions that used at-large or multimember district elections had their electoral system challenged — and most of the jurisdictions under challenge were forced to change their system to a single-member district plan that was not dilutive of minority voting strength (see, e.g., Brischetto and Grofman, 1988). Although partisan gerrymandering is less prevalent than racial vote dilution, in the 1990s we can expect to see challenges to partisan gerrymandering like those in the 1980s to racial vote dilution. In particular, numerous local jurisdictions that use partisan multimember district or at-large elections may be subject to challenge.

Second, in commissioning essays I sought to involve a number of the leading scholars in the field so as to put together a largely selfcontained compendium of the major points of view on how issues of partisan gerrymandering are to be litigated. While the ultimate issues in constitutional interpretation are ones that the Supreme Court must resolve, and these will be resolved only after an extensive series of case-by-case adjudications-just as the actual numerical features of the one person, one vote standard evolved only in the decade of litigation after Baker v. Carr (Grofman, 1989a) — there is an important role for social scientists to play. Social science testimony proved important in the area of racial vote dilution by aiding courts to interpret the provisions of the Voting Rights Acts (e.g., in defining the operational meaning of terms like racially polarized voting; Grofman, Migalski, and Noviello, 1985; Grofman, 1989b). In like manner, I believe that research by social scientists will aid attorneys and the federal courts in specifying manageable standards to define and measure the effects of partisan gerrymandering. I hope this volume will prove instrumental as the beginning of such a dialogue.

The third concern that motivated this volume is my view that egregious partisan gerrymandering is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment rights of political groups, and that it is both appropriate and necessary for courts to intervene when such rights are significantly impaired. However, I recognize that the courts must steer a careful line so as to avoid encouraging frivolous lawsuits, while at the same time sending a clear message to potential gerrymanders that intentional egregious political gerrymanders, which eliminate competition and are built to be resistant to electoral tides, will be struck down.

Court intervention to end egregious partisan gerrymandering is necessary for a number of reasons.


Table of Contents
Introduction: 1. Unresolved Issues in Partisan Gerrymandering Litigation (Bernard Grofman, University of California, Irvine); 2. The Unfinished Reapportionment Revoluti

Introduction: 1. Unresolved Issues in Partisan Gerrymandering Litigation (Bernard Grofman, University of California, Irvine); 2. The Unfinished Reapportionment Revolution (Gordon E. Baker, University of California, Santa Barbara).

What Does Bandemer Mean? 3. Toward a Coherent Theory of Gerrymandering: Bandemer and Thornburg (Bernard Grofman); 4. Bandemer's Gap: Gerrymandering and Equal Protection (Daniel Lowenstein, University of California, Los Angeles); 5. Perspectives on Davis v. Bandemer: Views of the Practitioner, Theorist, and Reformer (Bruce Cain, California Institute of Technology).

How to Measure Partisan Gerrymandering: 6. Establishing a Statewide Electoral Effects Baseline (Charles Backstrom, University of Minnesota; Leonard Robins, Roosevelt University; and Scott Eller, Attorney, Best and Flanagan); 7. The Swing Ratio as a Measure of Partisan Gerrymandering (Richard Niemi, University of Rochester); 8. Detecting Gerrymandering (Michael McDonald, SUNY Binghamton, and Richard Engstrom, University of New Orleans); 9. The "Totality of Circumstances" Approach (Gordon E. Baker); 10. A Geographer's Perspective (Richard Morrill, University of Washington); 11. Partisan Gerrymandering: A Political Problem Without Judicial Solution (Peter Schuck, Yale Law School).

Applications: Indiana: 12. Compactness and the 1980s Districts in the Indiana State House: Evidence of Political Gerrymandering? (Richard Niemi and John Wilkerson, University of Rochester); 13. Majority-Win Percentages: An Approach to the Votes-Seats Relationship in Light of Davis v. Bandemer (Richard Niemi and Stephen Wright, University of Rochester).

Applications: California: 14. Comparing the Compactness of California Congressional Districts under Three Different Plans, 1980, 1982, and 1984 (Thomas Hofeller, Republican National Committee, and Bernard Grofman); 15. Determining the Predictability of Voting Patterns in California Elections, 1978-1984 (Samuel Kernell, University of California, San Diego, and Bernard Grofman); 16. Lessons from the California 1973 Masters' Plan (Gordon Baker).

References and Author Index, Court Cases, Subject Index


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Pages 352
Year: 1990
LC Classification: KF4905.P65
Dewey code: 342.73'07- dc20
BISAC: POL000000
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ISBN: 978-0-87586-263-7
Price: USD 31.00
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