gerrymander

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gerrymander

(jĕr`ēmăn'dər, gĕr–), in politics, rearrangement of voting districts so as to favor the party in power. The objective is to create as many districts as possible in areas of known support and to concentrate the opposition's strength into as few districts as possible. Extremely irregular boundary lines are sometimes necessary to obtain the results desired. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has placed (1964) the vague limit of "compact districts of contiguous territory" on such apportionment schemes. The origin of the term, though by no means the origin of the practice, was in such an arrangement made by the Massachusetts Jeffersonians when Elbridge GerryGerry, Elbridge
, 1744–1814, American statesman, Vice President of the United States, b. Marblehead, Mass. He was elected (1772) to the Massachusetts General Court, where he became a follower of Samuel Adams, who enlisted him in the colonial activities preceding the
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 was governor.

Bibliography

See E. C. Griffith, The Rise and Development of the Gerrymander (1907, repr. 1974).

gerrymander

political chicanery aimed at acquiring votes. [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 199]
References in periodicals archive ?
Under an equal population standard, a party must be willing to run a risk in order to attempt a partisan gerrymander.
The strategy for a partisan gerrymander after the Reapportionment Revolution is the "pack-and-crack" approach, so named for the way that disadvantaged party voters are grouped.
Put somewhat differently, how far can a scheming politician wade into the territory of a partisan gerrymander without incurring too much risk?
There were also allegations that Patrick Henry attempted to gerrymander James Madison out of the First Congress in 1788.
The Supreme Court avoided the gerrymander appointment issue for the reason that there were no reliable standards or constitutional criterion to determine how election districts should be fairly drawn.
The six member majority agreed that a claim of an unconstitutional gerrymander required proof of "both intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group and an actual discriminatory effect on that group.
Justice Stevens also defended the symmetry standard as a widely-accepted measure of vote dilution and discriminatory impact, and proposed a standard for evaluating the merits of district-specific political gerrymander claims.
41) Taking issue with Justice Kennedy's opinion, Justice Souter explicitly declined to rule out the symmetry standard and refused to reject procedurally-based gerrymander tests generally.
These gerrymanders enabled the colonies to stack the legislature in
partisan ends as an indication that gerrymanders were wholly tolerated.
As the 2003 Texas redistricting illustrates, the Supreme Court cannot articulate rules that insulate federalism-reinforcing gerrymanders from erroneous invalidation, but the Court can, through related substantive areas that implicate redistricting, promote this federalism benefit so that states can protect their authority in a way that has been constitutionally mandated--through congressional redistricting.
859 (2010) (exploring the federalism implications of the states' ability, pursuant to the Elections Clause, to redistrict based on partisan considerations); see also Nathaniel Persily, In Defense of Foxes Guarding Henhouses: The Case for Judicial Acquiescence to Incumbent-Protecting Gerrymanders, 116 HARV.