Despite this good news, Barber noted that those elected through the racially biased plan remain in power. The new SCOTUS decision also did not rule in favor of special elections this year to correct the gerrymandering, he said.
“This ruling means we have an unconstitutionally constituted legislature that has been passing unconstitutional laws,” he said. “This legislature is not legitimate because they cheated and would not be in office. We would not have this extremist super majority in the state legislature. We also have people in Congress, who would not be there if we did not have this race-based redistricting plan. Yet they’re there.”
The Brennan Center for Justice supports Barber’s view about the impact of gerrymandering on the makeup of Congress. After analyzing data for the 2016 election, as well as the 2014 and 2012 cycles, the center released its Extreme Maps report, report, which found that “extreme partisan bias in congressional maps account for at least 16-17 Republican seats in the current Congress — a significant portion of the 24 seats Democrats would need to gain control of the House in 2020.”
In light of this report and other studies on voter suppression, Barber argues that far more public attention needs to be focused on this issue. “It should be troubling to all Americans when extremists deliberately suppress the vote and redistrict in ways that the people elected do not represent the true diversity of the population,” he said. “It’s undemocratic, it’s unconstitutional, and it brings up all kinds of questions regarding the integrity of our elections.”