The Supreme Court ruled that federal courts must stay out of disputes regarding gerrymandering. Apparently, The Frederick News-Post believes the ends justify the means. I am referring to the comments made in their editorial this past Sunday.
In this editorial, the paper stated their disapproval of the decision. “So, we are faced with a practice that denies people their constitutional right to representation in government, but the court does not think it can do anything about it?” They ended the editorial with “This is the very real danger to our democracy that the conservative majority seems perfectly fine with. In our view, it’s cynicism at its worst.”
The U.S. Constitution clearly defines who has the power to change our election laws. In Article I, Section 4, it states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing [sic] Senators.”
I was deeply upset when the Maryland General Assembly gerrymandered the 6th District for the sole purpose of electing a Democrat. For those who do not remember, this seat had been held by Roscoe Bartlett for 20 years and he represented the interests of Frederick County. Our current representative, David Trone, lives in Montgomery County, as do the majority of the citizens he represents.
Should we be upset at the Supreme Court for simply adhering to our Constitution or our federal and state elected officials who are more interested in partisan politics than the interests of their constituents?
As an example, Ron Young, a Frederick County state senator, voted for the current gerrymandered District 6. He cared more about changing the seat from Republican to Democrat than having an individual elected to represent the interests of our county. He simply could not wait a few more years for the likelihood a Democrat would be elected as the demographics of our county were changing and Roscoe Bartlett’s age was becoming a factor.
In this case, the majority of the Supreme Court decided against making laws and instead did their job. While the Court in Marbury v. Madison, 1803, established a precedent for judicial review, there simply is no basis for the Supreme Court to legislate. Sometimes we may like and other times dislike the outcome; however, in the end we are all better off if we let our legislators make the laws and the Supreme Court limit their decision to assure laws passed are within the bounds of the Constitution.