Congressional redistricting draws the lines within which battles for political power will be fought. It is no surprise, therefore, that the redistricting process has long been the subject of social debate and legal dispute. The Supreme Court has not been able to resolve this dispute, in part, because the Justices have conflicting interpretations of the right to vote. While some Justices view voting as an individual right, others maintain that voting is correctly perceived as group right. This lack of consensus regarding the definition of the right to vote has led to a confusing articulation of the harm implicated by recent districting cases, and of the identification of which citizens can seek redress for that harm. In this Article, the Author provides an overview of modern standing doctrine and focuses on the Court's application (or non- application) in districting cases of the requirement that plaintiffs show an injury-in-fact in order to have standing to sue. It is noted that in recent districting cases, the Court has allowed standing for the type of generalized grievance for which the Court has consistently denied standing in other areas of law. This deviation from established standing doctrine is often criticized as nonsensical. The Author however, argues that this new standing doctrine can only be explained and understood, when limited to voting cases, as reflective of the individual justices' interpretations of the right to vote. The Author concludes that the atypical standing doctrine articulated in the recent districting cases underscores the need for the Court to develop and employ a richer conception of the right to vote that encompasses the goal of achieving a politically fair system.
Sense and Nonsense: Standing in the Racial Districting Cases as a Window on the Supreme Court's View of the Right to Vote,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol4/iss2/4