One legislature’s gerrymandering of electoral districts, it would seem, is another legislature’s fair, evenhanded redistricting map.
You could ask Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has appointed himself the arbiter of which is which, with spectacularly biased results to date.
The Biden Justice Department’s top law enforcement officer can’t countenance what the Republican-controlled legislature did in Texas and has told it so in no uncertain terms.
In Mr. Garland’s telling, Texas Republicans’ new state legislative and congressional maps are unfair, and he has filed suit in federal court in a bid to block them from taking effect.
While objecting to Texas’ redistricting maps, Mr. Garland has shamefully turned a blind eye toward — and has remained mum on — Democrats’ rejiggering of electoral maps in Maryland and Illinois, among other places.
Mr. Garland’s highly selective indignation is unbecoming, to say the least, for someone who is supposed to enforce federal law impartially and on a professional, nonpartisan basis.
It’s also contrary to the image and reputation Democrats cultivated for Mr. Garland when former President Barack Obama nominated him for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2016. He was touted as a judicial “moderate,” chosen supposedly as someone whose nomination could make it through a then-Republican-controlled Senate. (With 20-20 hindsight, America should be grateful the Senate GOP didn’t fall for the “Merrick the moderate” ruse.)
Since being tapped this year to head the Justice Department (presumably as a “consolation prize”), Mr. Garland has revealed himself to be a liberal partisan hack, little better than execrable former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. Mr. Holder, one might recall, made no pretense to being an evenhanded administrator of the law, instead making it clear he viewed his job as looking out for his boss’s interests, going so far as to proudly proclaim himself Mr. Obama’s “wingman.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, called Mr. Garland’s bluff just three days after the Justice Department filed suit on Dec. 6 against Texas’ redistricting plan, contending it violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Right Act of 1965.
On Dec. 9, after the Democrat-dominated Maryland General Assembly overrode his veto of what he called its “disgracefully illegal gerrymandered maps, which are a shameful violation of federal law,” Mr. Hogan dared the attorney general to sue his state, too.
Then, in a Dec. 17 op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Garland, Please Sue My State,” Mr. Hogan insisted that “Maryland’s Democratic gerrymander is even worse than Texas’ Republican one.”
The clear intent of the reconfigured Maryland map is to make it more difficult for Rep. Andy Harris, the sole Republican in the state’s eight-member congressional delegation, to win reelection to his 1st Congressional District seat.
Amid the sounds of silence from Mr. Garland’s Justice Department, Fair Maps Maryland joined the fray. Just before Christmas, on Dec. 23, the advocacy group sued in federal court in Maryland to block the new state congressional district map, which it described as “filled with grotesque examples of extreme partisan gerrymandering.” (The Washington Post has characterized Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District as the most gerrymandered in the entire country.)
The Fair Maps Maryland lawsuit came just one day after similar legal action was filed by a dozen Republicans aided by the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch.
Meanwhile, in Illinois, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law new congressional redistricting maps on Nov. 23 that, more than a month later, still haven’t drawn the ire of Mr. Garland, much less a Justice Department lawsuit aimed at blocking them.
That’s despite Capitol News Illinois reporting that: “Analysts at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave the new maps an overall grade of ‘F’ in the categories of partisan fairness, competitiveness, and compactness. They estimate the maps create 14 likely Democratic districts and three likely Republican districts.”
For the record, Princeton also gave the Maryland maps an overall grade of “F,” just as it did to Texas’. Yet, an “F” gets a pass from Mr. Garland in some states, but not in others — and that reflects just as poorly on the attorney general as it does on the mapmakers themselves.