Eric Holder’s Judicial Gerrymanders

Obama’s AG wants state judges to carve out Democratic majorities.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to stop judges from interfering with partisan political gerrymanders is already looking prescient, as no less than Eric Holder informs us. The former Attorney General under Barack Obama is now pledging to persuade liberal state judges to overrule elected politicians with partisan judicial gerrymanders.

“My organization, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, will continue to bring racial gerrymandering claims in the federal courts and partisan gerrymandering cases in the state courts,” Mr. Holder wrote on July 4 in the Washington Post. “An affiliate of the NDRC is supporting a state-based partisan gerrymandering case in North Carolina that seeks to strike down the maps for both chambers of the General Assembly.”

Mr. Holder’s op-ed is best understood as a fund-raising letter. And note that Mr. Holder didn’t mention Maryland, where Democrats gerrymandered their 7-1 congressional-seat majority that the Supreme Court also chose not to toss out. His outfit is suing North Carolina, where Republicans gerrymandered an 8-3 majority in congressional seats (two seats previously held by Republicans are vacant).

Mr. Holder claims the High Court has damaged “democracy,” but the Court merely left redistricting questions to the voters and elected representatives. That’s called democracy. Mr. Holder wants judges, most of whom aren’t elected, to overrule representatives elected by voters. His model is the 5-2 ruling by Pennsylvania’s liberal Supreme Court in 2018 that the Keystone State’s gerrymander violated state law. The judges substituted their own map that helped Democrats gain three seats in Congress last year.

That’s not democracy. It’s judicial usurpation of democracy. Mr. Holder wants to repeat this across any state where he can promote a liberal judicial majority if he can’t elect a liberal Legislature or Governor. Partisan gerrymanders won’t go away. They’ll merely be drawn by judges instead of elected officials.

Chief Justice John Roberts was right to keep federal judges out of this line-drawing that will inevitably have some voters viewing the decision as political. Too many voters already think of judges as politicians in robes. If Mr. Holder gets his way, that’s precisely what voters in states with judicial gerrymanders will be right to conclude.

Liberals Who Cry Roe

A obscure case over state sovereignty triggers a Supreme Court exchange over precedent.

Progressives outside the Court correctly interpreted the subtext of the Breyer dissent. “Clarence Thomas Just Showed How Supreme Court Would Overturn Roe v. Wade,” declared one columnist. Liberals are skiing so fast down this slope they can’t stop to think.

Justice Thomas is the only Justice who has endorsed overturning Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh are wary enough of abortion politics that they declined to hear a case last year involving Medicaid provider contracts ostensibly because Planned Parenthood was a plaintiff. The High Court will eventually address abortion rights, but it is likely to do so incrementally unless it is forced to take on Casey and Roe directly by some state law. And even then we don’t know what the Justices would do.