The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday that the Voting Rights Act does not protect minority voters unless they constitute a majority of a district will likely impact legislative redistricting in New Jersey in 2011. Republicans could go to court and seek to overturn the current map and redraw districts for the 2009 election, although the GOP has given no indication that they are considering such a plan.
In 2001, a panel of three federal judges upheld the current map and rejected an argument from New Jersey Republicans that the Voting Rights Act was diluted when mapmakers moved some minority voters out some minority districts and into mostly white districts. Republicans, some insiders say, could now have a claim that the Supreme Court has invalidated the New Jersey map as well.
There is a precedent for redrawing districts in New Jersey. Legislative redistricting occurred in 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971 and 1973. Chances are that the current map will stand, but it will be interesting to see if the Republicans will try to make it interesting.