Kaptur signs Supreme Court Amicus Brief on partisan gerrymandering

September 6, 2017
Press Release
Joins bipartisan group of 36 current and former Members of Congress

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) signed on to an Amicus Brief urging the Supreme Court of the United States to address partisan gerrymandering. Kaptur was joined by a bipartisan group of 36 former and current Representatives and Senators. The Supreme Court will hear the case, Gill v. Whitford, in October, which examines whether Wisconsin's redistricting plan was an impermissible partisan gerrymander. The court’s decision could potentially address the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering.

Key excerpts from the brief:

“…extreme partisan gerrymandering harms our political system, and harms the functioning of the House in particular. It puts raw partisan position ahead of maintaining coherent political communities and sensibly sized and shaped districts based on traditional districting criteria.

“A cascade of negative results predictably follows:

  • artificially drawn ‘safe’ districts make the general election uncompetitive and wields party insiders and a small core of ‘base’ primary voters greater influence than the general electorate;
  • political parties gain influence and obstruct independent, constituent-first representation;
  • compromise with the other side becomes politically impossible even when there are areas of principled agreement and even when the voters want it;
  • and the People grow frustrated with the capacity of the House to govern effectively, causing disillusionment with and disengagement from our democratic process.”

“…extreme partisan gerrymandering is undemocratic, and cannot be reconciled with the Framers’ idea of a House of Representatives that would be directly accountable to the People through competitive and broad-based elections.

“…the premise of extreme partisan gerrymandering is that politicians choose their voters, and not the other way around. The Framers’ vision precludes such bald manipulation of the electoral process.”

Read the brief here: PDF iconAmicus Brief Bipartisan Group of Current and Former Members of Congress.pdf

“Common Cause commends Congresswoman Kaptur for her leadership in promoting redistricting reform and helping to end hyper-partisan gerrymandering,” said Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs at Common Cause. “We hope the Supreme Court will ‘just say no’ to hyper-partisan gerrymandering to help end polarization and partisan gridlock so that Congress can once again get back to work.”

In 2015, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to create a bipartisan redistricting commission for state legislative districts. In 2018, Ohio voters will potentially get the opportunity to vote on Fair Districts Ohio, an initiative that would help eliminate hyper-partisan gerrymandering for congressional districts.