Hastings Law Journal


Political gerrymandering involves the intentional manipulation of legislative boundaries by one political party against another for partisan purposes. Following the 1980 Census, amid charges of political gerrymandering in several states, Davis v. Bandemer and Badham v. Eu became the first cases to accept the justiciability of political gerrymandering. Bandemer and Badham, however, failed to provide sufficient guidance to judge the constitutionality of future reapportionment legislation. This Note argues that the standards suggested by these cases provide an open invitation to political gerrymandering following the 1990 Census. This Note argues that the power to elect a representative is at the heart of the political process. Political gerrymandering, therefore, involves the loss of a group's power to elect a representative because the legislature has divided voting districts unfairly to dilute that group's strength. A group challenging an apportionment plan must (1) show that it will suffer disproportionate election losses over a prolonged period of time as a result of the manipulation of legislative boundaries, and (2) it must suffer the loss of its power to elect a representative of its choice because of the apportionment plan.

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