In an effort to fill the void in scholarly debate and legal analysis, this Note evaluates incumbency protection as a redistricting principle and analyzes its treatment in various court opinions. After arguing that protecting incumbents is not a legitimate redistricting objective, this Note illustrates how the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have been reluctant to pass judgment on incumbency protection. This Note contrasts this "hands-off" approach to the strict scrutiny afforded claims of racial gerrymandering and argues that such an approach enables incumbents to manipulate the Voting Rights Act for their self-interest. Additionally, this Note argues that incumbents, a disproportionate majority of whom are White, are effectively protected at the expense of efforts to enhance minority voting power and that the Court's double standard offends notions of equal protection. This Note concludes that the current approach to redistricting undermines the legitimacy of the electoral process and briefly considers alternatives.
Drawing the Line on Incumbency Protection,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol2/iss1/4