Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



Racial Gerrymandering; Discrimination; Redistricting; Voting Rights Act; Standing

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Supreme Court of the United States


In drawing election maps, racial gerrymandering separates minority groups, packing them into specific districts to weaken the power of their votes. In Wittman v. Personhuballah, the Supreme Court held that a group of Virginia congressmen that neither lived in, nor represented a district did not have standing to defend gerrymandering in that district. Although the Court had the opportunity to address the substantive issues in the case, it did not, leaving a substantial gap in racial gerrymandering jurisprudence. This commentary explores the consequences of this gap and argues that the Court should not find a legally cognizable right in a politician maintaining the racial makeup of his district, because it would result in non-resident politicians with greater rights than non-resident citizens, and it would further incentivize racial gerrymandering in the drawing of electoral maps.