Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling Maryland’s recent congressional redistricting “outrageously unconstitutional,” and says that his inability to persuade the other justices to overturn partisan gerrymandering like it was “one of my major disappointments in my entire career.”
Stevens, 91, who retired last year after almost 35 years on the court, said the Supreme Court’s “failure to act in this area is one of the things that has contributed to the much greater partisanship in legislative bodies now that wasn’t true years ago.”
Stevens was interviewed for SCOTUSBlog by a former court clerk about the justice’s new book “Five Chiefs.” The interview was published Thursday, and ProPublica reported on his gerrymandering comments Monday.
Deep in the long interview, the former clerk, Stanford University law professor Jeffrey Fisher, asked Stevens: “how you would envision the Court getting involved in something as crass and divisive as partisan gerrymandering while maintaining the public perception of political independence.
Stevens responded, “Well it goes back to the fundamental equal protection principle that government has the duty to be impartial. When it’s engaged in districting, it should be impartial.