Who draws the lines?


Redistricting status map

Court rejected challenge to leg. map  
Court sent map back to legislature  
Court drew map (not legislature)  
Court rejected challenge to comm'n map  
Court sent map back to 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; though they approved all new maps they reviewed, they actually drew the lines (or some of the lines) themselves in 9 states, when the primary map-drawer defaulted.

    Courts reviewed state legislative districts (or stepped in to correct legislative inaction) in 30 states, declared new districts unlawful in 9 states, and actually drew the lines (or some of the lines) themselves in 11 states, including 7 states where the court drew lines when the primary map-drawer defaulted (in Louisiana, litigants settled out of court before a final court opinion was issued).

Congress State legislature   Maps & Data   States      
     Current status      Current status            Alabama      Indiana      Nebraska      South Carolina
     Timing      Timing            Alaska      Iowa      Nevada      South Dakota
     Authority      Authority   Litigation        Arizona      Kansas      New Hampshire      Tennessee
          Institution           Institution            Arkansas      Kentucky      New Jersey      Texas
          Party control           Party control            California      Louisiana      New Mexico      Utah
     Criteria      Criteria   Reform        Colorado      Maine      New York      Vermont
               Connecticut      Maryland      North Carolina      Virginia
               Delaware      Massachusetts      North Dakota      Washington
               Florida      Michigan      Ohio      West Virginia
         Georgia      Minnesota      Oklahoma      Wisconsin
Overview of redistricting     Further resources        Hawaii      Mississippi      Oregon      Wyoming
Why it matters Redistricting criteria        My work        Idaho      Missouri      Pennsylvania  
Public engagement Preclearance        Tools        Illinois      Montana      Rhode Island