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, and extremely irregular boundary lines are sometimes necessary to obtain the results desired. The term has also been used to describe the similar creation of voting districts to favor the election of a candidate from a specific racial or ethnic group. The U.S. Supreme Court has placed (1964) the vague limit of "compact districts of contiguous territory" on such apportionment schemes, and also has reversed redistricting where there is evidence of racially based gerrymandering. 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 ?
In his separate Vieth opinion, Justice Kennedy suggested that partisan gerrymanders might violate the First Amendment injunction against burdening citizens because of their political views and affiliations.
BREAKDOWN OF THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN THE ERA OF PARTISAN GERRYMANDERS
A three-judge panel of the district court rejected the plaintiffs' claims that the plan should be invalidated as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
Harm to the public interest from partisan gerrymanders can be avoided by giving both major parties a role in the redistricting process.
When all was said and done, the result of Vieth was that a majority of the Court had expressed unwillingness to entertain challenges to political gerrymanders under any as-yet articulated standard, At the same time, a different majority of the Court had expressed the view that political gerrymanders posed a serious threat to fundamental constitutional values.
Indeed, all single-member districts are gerrymanders for large numbers of people consigned to irrelevance during use of any particular map:
It identifies partisan asymmetry, though not bipartisan gerrymanders in which individual candidates of both parties benefit.
57) Four of these five justices endorsed specific standards for judging the constitutionality of partisan gerrymanders and would have reversed the lower court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' challenge to the Republican gerrymander of Pennsylvania's congressional districts litigated in Vieth.
But what of purely partisan gerrymanders, especially in the rest of the country?
See Michael Weaver, Note, Uncertainty Maintained: The Split Decision Over Partisan Gerrymanders in Vieth v.
congressional gerrymanders have been estimated to last for multiple