LEGALITY OF GERRYMANDERING
Political gerrymandering is the drawing of electoral district lines
in a manner that discriminates against a political party. When used to
insure party success, political gerrymandering is usually legal
but can be contested. At this time it is legal to draw district lines
to protect incumbents of both parties.
Racial Gerrymandering I
Racial gerrymandering originally referred to manipulating
legislative district lines to under-represent racial minorities.
Tactics such as "packing" black voters into a given district
or "cracking" them to make black voters a minority in all
districts can be illegal. This sort of gerrymandering was first
used in the South after the Civil War to dilute the black vote.
Racial Gerrymandering II
In 1982, the Voting Rights Act was amended to require many
political jurisdictions to create "majority-minority"
districts in order to allow more racial minorities to elect candidates
of their choice. After the 1990 census, the Supreme Court invalidated
several such redistricting plans as unconstitutionally race-conscious.