Governor Schwarzenegger Files Amicus Brief in Maryland Redistricting Case

Governor Schwarzenegger continued his crusade to end gerrymandering by filing an Amicus Brief with the the Supreme Court challenging partisan redistricting in the State of Maryland.  Schwarzenegger joined fellow governors John Kaisch (OH), Gray Davis (CA) and Larry Hogan (MD) in signing the brief, organized by Common Cause, in Benisk v. Lamone, a First Amendment challenge to Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District, which Democrats drew after the 2010 census in a successful attempt to defeat a longtime Republican incumbent. Schwarzenegger recently signed an Amicus Brief in support of plaintiffs in the Whitford case, another attempt to end gerrymandering. The Whitford case involved gerrymandering by the Republican majority in Wisconsin.I f the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it could result in a nationwide prohibition against the manipulation of legislative boundaries for political advantage.

“Gerrymandering is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it is a voter’s issue. Politicians of both parties draw maps to benefit their own interests – but never the voters,” said former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will hear our concerns and reject this fixed system that allows extreme partisanship and gridlock to grow and fester. It’s time to put the voters’ interests above the politicians, because the politicians have proven they are incapable of doing it on their own.”

The governors' argued in the brief that “this Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence requires that such partisan gerrymanders be subjected to strict scrutiny under the First Amendment” and urged the Court to act by stating "we know firsthand that those who draw districts need to neutral and independent judicial oversight."  

“The Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees its citizens’ freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” said former California Governor Gray Davis. “There can be no greater exercise of free speech, association, or redress than a citizen’s vote.  This most fundamental right is eviscerated when the levers of government are rigged for the retention of power, functionally giving voice to some while disenfranchising others.”

Oral arguments for the case have been scheduled for March 28th and the Court is expected to make a decision in the case in June. Please follow Governor Schwarzenegger and the Schwarzenegger Institute on Twitter for updates on the case.