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41 Law & Pol'y 336 (2019)
The Mask of Neutrality: Judicial Partisan Calculation and Legislative Redistricting

handle is hein.journals/lawpol41 and id is 336 raw text is: 

The Mask of Neutrality: Judicial Partisan

Calculation and Legislative Redistricting

                             JORDAN CARR PETERSON

   Do judges ruling on redistricting litigation increase electoral competition in congressional races
   while simultaneously drawing districts favoring their party's congressional candidates? I offer a
   novel theory of judicial partisan calculation, arguing that judges draw more competitive dis-
   tricts than legislatures or commissions, but that judge-drawn districts favor the electoral inter-
   ests of their copartisans. These claims are reconcilable because judges target districts held by
   contrapartisan legislators to maximize their copartisans' fortunes. I find that Democratic
   judges draw competitive districts by adding Democratic voters to Republican-held House con-
   stituencies. Court-administered redistricting increases competitiveness, ostensibly due to judi-
   cial neutrality. This mask of neutrality, however, conceals sophisticated partisan calculation.

The redistricting process lies at the heart of American democracy because decisions
about legislative district boundaries define both the form and substance of representa-
tives' constituencies. The boundaries of legislative districts profoundly impact the rela-
tionship between representatives and constituents, governments and the governed (Cain
1985; Yoshinaka and Murphy 2009, 2011; Cottrill 2012; McKee 2013; Carson, Crespin,
and Williamson 2014). The redistricting process, likewise, influences the character and
quality of democratic governance in the United States due to the range of preferences
motivating those who determine district boundaries.
   The determination of district boundaries in the United States occurs through a variety
of methods due to both the federal framework of American government and the preva-
lent use of litigation to resolve disputes in American politics. In many states, state legis-
lators make redistricting choices each decade, while other states' legislative districts are
drawn by commissions. In other instances, judges either draw the lines themselves or
oversee the creation of new constituency boundaries by experts. Scholars have argued or
shown that redistricting often results in more competitive legislative elections when
judges draw the district lines (Carson, Crespin, and Williamson 2014). Scholars often
assume that this result occurs because courts are more neutral than legislatures when it
comes to partisan and political districting considerations, as legislators have partisan
incentives when redrawing lines (Murphy and Yoshinaka 2009).

I would like to thank Christian Grose and Jeb Barnes for their helpful comments on this article. I would also
like to acknowledge the Southern California Law and Social Science Forum for providing a place to share an
early version of the work.
  Address correspondence to: Jordan Carr Peterson, Texas Christian University, Department of Political Science,
TCU Box 297021, Fort Worth, TX 76129, USA. Telephone: (904) 704-3335; Email: jordancarrpetersonggnail.com.

LAW & POLICY, Vol. 41, No. 3,                                               ISSN 0265-8240
© 2019 The Author
Law & Policy © 2019 The University of Denver/Colorado Seminary
doi: 10.1111/lapo.12132

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