U.S. Supreme Court Defends Independent Redistricting Commissions

Jun 29, 2015

Monday's Supreme Court ruling keeps the door open for non-partisan state redistricting commissions.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Election Division

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld the constitutionality of an independent redistricting commission in Arizona, a system that keeps the redrawing of legislative maps out of the legislature’s hands.  That decision could have a major impact on Indiana as lawmakers prepare to examine ways to take some of the politics out of electoral redistricting.

Indiana legislative leaders – both Republican and Democrat – who’ve long supported redistricting reform overcame a major hurdle this year by gaining support for a redistricting study committee. 

Speaker Brian Bosma, one of the backers of the effort, says the committee is well equipped to react to the Supreme Court’s ruling as it prepares a recommendation for the future of Hoosier redistricting.

“That committee is a two-year committee,” Bosma said. “They’re charged with taking a long-term view of this, with legal counsel at their side.”

Julia Vaughn, executive director of voter advocacy group Common Cause Indiana, says the Supreme Court ruling came as a huge relief to her, because she says it means everything will be on the table when lawmakers study redistricting.

“It allows us to have a full, complete, and thorough discussion about gerrymandering, its impact, and what the solutions to this problem are going to be,” Vaughn said.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, a strong proponent of redistricting reform, says the Supreme Court decision paves the way for an Indiana redistricting commission.