Deals a blow?
Not really, not practically.
Hold my hand, and I’ll walk you through this.
All it means is that SCOTUS has found that minority-favorable gerrymanders are not an implicit requirement of the Voting Rights Act.
It does not mean that any such districts in existence now will be wiped out, and it does not mean that they will be specifically prohibited in the future. All it means is that if they’re not drawn, it’s going to be all but impossible for the NAACP et al. to use the Federal judiciary as a weapon to force their existence.
However, they will continue to exist for at least a few more decennial redistricting cycles for two main reasons:
1. Republican state legislators and black Democrat state legislators want them to exist.
2. White Democrat state legislators, while they know now that their existence marginally hurts white Democrats, aren’t going to be in a much of a mood to work against their existence, because they’re too scared to tell blacks no.
For my new best friend, in case you’ve bought into the leftist crackpot hysteria about gerrymandering, then I’ll point you back to what I wrote in this space last November. I’ll make it so easy for you that I’ll blockquote my favorite source, myself, instead of forcing you to click on a link:
NOTE: The following section was updated on December 17 in accordance with the final Congressional runoffs and recounts complete.
Are you ready to put the leftist hoopla over gerrymandering to bed? Hold my hand and come with me.
In 2010, the national popular vote for Congressional candidates was 52.2% R 44.6% D. In 2014, 52.6% R 44.4% D. Notice how almost the same these results are.
Remember, the 2010 votes were fed into the Congressional maps drawn in 2001 and extant from 2001-2011. This year’s vote is fed into these great evil Republican gerrymandered maps that are and will be extant from 2011-2021.
So you feed just about the same two party percentage split into two different Congressional district maps, and what do you get? 242 seats in 2010, 247 seats in 2014. So this great Republican gerrymandered map only results in five more Republican seats using virtually the same popular vote percentages.
Then again, you already put the gerrymandering mania to bed, because you read this space. Earlier this year, the NYT did a story about a study that several university professors did. They fed the 2012 Congressional vote, which in raw terms was slightly more Democrat than Republican, into thousands of hypothetical national Congressional districting maps, ranging from the craziest pro-Democrat to the craziest pro-Republican and everything in between. The researchers found that only a few of the craziest pro-Democrat maps would have resulted in an actual Democrat House majority; all the other maps, meaning most Democrat-favorable maps and all the neutral maps and pro-Republican maps, resulted in a Republican majority. It also found that the real world map drawn in 2011 is, on the researchers’ relative scale, a moderately pro-Republican map, and not a crazy one. Which makes sense, because not every state legislature in 2011 was Republican-run, and some Democrat-ones (think: California and Illinois) did favorable Democrat gerrymanders in those states. The researchers’ conclusion was that the main problem Democrats have in Congressional elections isn’t gerrymandering, (and they reminded us that gerrymandering’s original purpose was to draw short bus districts for blacks, the Republican benefit fell out of the design accidentally), but the fact that Democrat voters are clumped up in small geographical areas, i.e. big cities.
The moral of this story: Five seats. Wow. Some conspiracy.