On Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Alabama's district map for the U.S. House of Representatives in a ruling in the case Allen v. Milligan.
This is a huge win for our democratic institutions, for fair representation, and for the more than one million Black voters whose voices had been essentially nullified through vote dilution. The ruling is consistent with the 1965 Voting Rights Act judicial enforcement mechanisms for the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. Business for America and the businesses we represent believe that all eligible Americans should have free, fair, and safe access to the fundamental right to have their voices heard and their votes matter.
While we are delighted by this decision that recognizes the unconstitutionality of racial gerrymandering intended to exclude voters of color, it is essential to recognize that any form of gerrymandering is antithetical to the founding principles of our republic. What’s more, it’s bad for economic interests. When congressional districts are drawn to make them safe for one or another of the major political parties, it diminishes the influence of moderates. The results are greater political division and extremism, and less of the good-faith bipartisan politics necessary to move our country and economy forward.
To fix this problem, we urge states to take redistricting out of the hands of lawmakers and entrust it to nonpartisan commissions — as some states already have. This process produces more competitive districts where candidates will better represent the communities they serve. We also encourage the Supreme Court, when ruling in the coming weeks on the Moore v. Harper case, to reject the partisan gerrymandering undertaken by the North Carolina state legislature, violating their state constitution.
It’s worth noting that Americans have been “sorting themselves” into like-minded communities — red areas getting redder, blue areas getting bluer — and as a result redistricting reform will unfortunately only modestly increase the number of competitive congressional districts. Despite the limits, we continue to advocate for such reforms because every tool available to reverse the destructive trends toward toxic polarization and political dysfunction must be used.
States that select qualified, unbiased members of the community to draw maps based on public input are rewarded with district lines that are more inclusive and fair than the ones politicians draw behind closed doors. It’s time for every public official to embrace nonpartisan redistricting reforms.
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About Business for America
Business for America is a nonpartisan nonprofit business membership organization advancing solutions to boost civic engagement, reduce political polarization, and modernize government. A well-functioning democracy will foster a more competitive, innovative business climate in America. Businesses interested in getting involved can learn more at bfa.us.