Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2019

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Top court has been hijacked

I couldn’t agree more with Brian Greenspun’s June 30 column, “Supreme Court takes an untimely duck,” which criticized the SupremeCourt for its recent decisions holding that challenges to partisan gerrymandering presented “political questions” from which the court would abstain. 

However, I would like to think that this term’s decision in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill continues to leave the door open for challenges to pervasive, purely racial gerrymandering.Otherwise, the court in the Virginia case could have dodged the issue as a political question, as it did in the two cases from last month.

While nowhere in the Constitution is there any express prohibition of partisan gerrymandering, I would hope that the Civil War Amendments would provide a basis for court challenges to racial gerrymandering.

The politicization of the Supreme Court started in 1968, when presidential candidate Richard Nixon promised to appoint “strict constructionists” to the court — a promise that he kept by appointing four of them, including William Rehnquist.Remember that Bobby Kennedy was an odds-on favorite to be elected president until the June 1968 tragedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. 

The court would have been of a far different character to this day had that event not occurred.The razor-thin victory of President Donald Trump in 2016 will be looked upon in the future as a similar turnaround.