League of Latin American Citizens v. Perry
548 U.S. 399 (2006)

  • Traditionally, States redraw the lines for congressional districts once every 10 years, after the new census numbers are released.
  • Republicans took control of the Texas State Legislature in 2002, and immediately announced that they were redistricting in order to make it more likely that Republicans would be elected to the US House of Representatives (aka gerrymandering).
    • The districts had been redrawn after the 2001 census, so they were not due to be redrawn again until 2011.
    • The change meant that instead of having 17 Democrats and 15 Republican congressmen from Texas, there would be 21 Republicans and 11 Democrats.
      • The Republicans blatantly admitted that they were doing this for purely partisan reasons.
  • A number of people sued for an injunction, claiming that the off-cycle redistricting was unconstitutional.
    • They argued that the redistricting violated the Equal Protection Clause, and the 1st Amendment because it served no legitimate public purpose and burdened a group because of their political opinions and affiliation.
  • The US Supreme Court found most of the redistricting to be constitutional.
    • The US Supreme Court found that nothing in the Constitution or Federal law prevents States from redistricting as often as they want to.
    • The Court found that the redistricting of one district was a violation of the Voting Rights Act, because it dissolved a qualified protected majority-minority and diluted the voting strength of minority voters.
  • This case continued the precedent set by Vieth v. Jubelirer (541 U.S. 267 (2004)) and Davis v. Bandemer (478 U.S. 109 (1986)). Again, the Court said that there is no reliable standard for identifying unconstitutional political gerrymandering, and until there is, gerrymandering will remain a political question, and therefore not judiciable.