Who draws the lines?
Redistricting status map
|Court approved legislative map|
|Court sent map back to legislature|
|Court drew map (not legislature)|
|Court approved commission map|
|Court drew map (not commission)|
- Litigation over congressional lines -- 2000 cycle
Courts are also sometimes called on to draw district lines. Most state constitutions set a deadline by which the regular process of redistricting must be completed. If the primary redistricting body has not drawn a viable map by then, state or federal courts may step in to make sure that the district lines are set before the next election. Also, if the maps are produced on time, but are legally flawed, some courts will draw maps of their own, particularly if elections are around the corner, and there is not enough time to give the pen back to the original drawers.
In the 2000 redistricting cycle, courts were asked to intervene in 37 states. Courts reviewed congressional districts (or stepped in to correct legislative inaction) in 21 states, declared existing or proposed districts unlawful in 9 states, and actually drew the lines (or some of the lines) themselves in 9 states.
Courts reviewed state legislative districts (or stepped in to correct legislative inaction) in 30 states, declared existing or proposed districts unlawful in 16 states, and actually drew the lines (or some of the lines) themselves in 11 states (in Louisiana, litigants settled out of court before a final court opinion was issued).