54 Vill. L. Rev. 57 (2009)
Does the Introduction of Independent Redistricting Reduce Congressional Partisanship

handle is hein.journals/vllalr54 and id is 67 raw text is: 2009]

DOES THE INTRODUCTION OF INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING
REDUCE CONGRESSIONAL PARTISANSHIP?
DAVID G. OEDEL1], ALLEN K. LYNCH,21
SEAN E. MULHOLLAND,31 & NEIL T. EDWARDS4'
ABSTRACT
In contemporary American politics, partisanship is frequently seen as ex-
cessive, even if some aspects of partisanship may fundamentally character-
ize the U.S. political system. To reduce partisanship in the process of
drawing political districts, some states have implemented independent re-
districting commissions and related forms of depoliticized systems for re-
districting. This paper analyzes whether the presence of relatively
independent redistricting also reduces partisanship in the voting behavior
of congressional representatives elected from the relevant redefined dis-
tricts. Contrary to the initial expectations of the authors, the evidence
reviewed here suggests that politically independent redistricting seems to
reduce partisanship in the voting behavior of congressional delegations
from affected states in statistically significant ways. The authors conclude
with notes about the study's implications for further research into redis-
tricting and partisanship.
I. THE PERCEIVED PROBLEM OF EXCESSIVE PARTISANSHIP
F ERVENT support for one political party's policies when alternative
policies are championed by another political party-one way to define
partisanship-may be a normal, unavoidable, and perhaps even desirable
byproduct of the basic constitutional design of the American political sys-
tem, with its structural divisions of governmental power and its effective
enshrinement of two political parties. Certain evidence, though, suggests
that some forms of partisanship in American political life are intensifying,'
[ Professor of Law, Mercer University Law School. Professor Oedel gratefully
acknowledges the research assistance of Josh Carroll, Jacqueline Caruana, Chuck
Efstration,Jack Lance, James Mayers, Michael Memberg, Katie Ray, Ryan Springer,
and Jennifer Thomasello, the financial support of Mercer Law School, and John
Marshall Law School's faculty for comments on a presentation of the paper. The
authors also acknowledge with appreciation the welcome comments of two
anonymous referees from the American Political Science Review, who made valuable
suggestions.
(2 Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Economics and
Quantitative Methods, Stetson School of Business and Economics, Mercer
University.
[31 Assistant Professor of Economics, Stetson School of Business and
Economics, Mercer University.
[4) J.D. Candidate, Mercer University Law School, 2009.
1. See generally NOLAN McCARm', KEITH T. POOLE & HowARD ROSENTHAL, PO-
LARIZED AMERICA: THE DANCE OF IDEOLOGY AND UNEQUAL RICHES (2006).

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