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Schwarzenegger joins call to 'terminate gerrymandering!'

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 26, 2019 - Duration: 01:34s

Schwarzenegger joins call to 'terminate gerrymandering!'

Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan protested on the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday calling on the high court justices to rule in favor of ending gerrymandering.

Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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Schwarzenegger joins call to 'terminate gerrymandering!'

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan protested on the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday calling on the high court justices to rule in favor of ending gerrymandering.

Conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday signaled skepticism toward letting the judiciary curb the contentious practice of manipulating electoral district boundaries to entrench one party in power, as the court appeared divided largely along ideological lines.

More than two hours of arguments in major cases from North Carolina and Maryland on the practice known as partisan gerrymandering focused on whether courts should be empowered to block electoral maps when they are drawn by legislators expressly to give one political party a lopsided advantage.

Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, appointed to the court last year by President Donald Trump, emerged as a potential decisive vote in the rulings due by the end of June, posing questions to both sides.

The liberal justices appeared more open toward letting courts intervene.

But with the court having a 5-4 conservative margin, there may not be a majority to allow judicial action against gerrymandering, a practice critics have said is only getting worse.

The justices last year failed to deliver a definitive ruling on the legality of partisan gerrymandering.

They got another chance in the cases before them on Tuesday challenging a Republican-drawn 13-district statewide U.S. House of Representatives map in North Carolina and a single Democratic-drawn House district in Maryland.

The outcome could impact U.S. elections for decades either by allowing federal courts to curb partisan gerrymandering or by removing their power to do so, giving state legislators a freer hand to draw districts as they choose.

Critics have said gerrymandering has become increasingly effective and insidious by using precise voter data and powerful computer software.

The result in many states has been the creation of electoral districts, sometimes oddly shaped to include or exclude certain localities, that maximize one party's chances of winning and diluting the clout of voters who tend to support the other party.

Gerrymandering also tends to foster the election of candidates with more extreme views at the expense of moderates, according to critics, adding to U.S. political polarization.

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