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Journal Article

Gerrymandering and Political Cartels

Samuel Issacharoff
Harvard Law Review
Vol. 116, No. 2 (Dec., 2002), pp. 593-648
DOI: 10.2307/1342611
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1342611
Page Count: 56
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Gerrymandering and Political Cartels
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Abstract

As redistricting reaches its decennial peak, and as courts anticipate the next round of redistricting litigation, it is worthwhile to revisit some of the fundamental tenets of the law governing gerrymandering. This Article explores three interrelated issues. First, the Article inquires as to the different treatment given to two analogous scenarios: although there has been an apparent collapse of any effort to control geographic carve-ups of territory between competing political parties, condemnation would inevitably ensue if market rivals were to attempt analogously to divide their respective zones of influence so as to preserve market share. The second part of the Article shows that this differential treatment results from the Supreme Court's having fastened on limited doctrines of individual rights and nondiscrimination in the political arena, while allowing notions of consumer welfare and the preservation of competition to govern product markets. The Article then concludes with a proposal to remove the power to redistrict from insider political operatives to promote a more competitive political process. This approach would render suspect all purposeful districting, thereby taking the pressure off of the vulnerable category of race. The aim is both to restore competition to the political process and to show a possible way out of the post-Shaw v. Reno morass.

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