Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is asking the Justice Department to sue his own state in a last-ditch effort to thwart Democrats from engaging in egregious gerrymandering of his state's congressional districts.
What is the background?
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas on Dec. 6, alleging the state's congressional redistricting plans disenfranchise certain voters in the Lone Star State.
The DOJ claimed Texas' proposal violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act:
The United States’ complaint contends that Texas’ redistricting plan for its congressional delegation violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it has the discriminatory purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group in that it deliberately minimizes the voting strength of minority communities. The lawsuit also claims that Texas violated Section 2 because its congressional redistricting plan has the discriminatory result of leading to an inequality in the opportunities for minority voters to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.
“The complaint we filed today alleges that Texas has violated Section 2 by creating redistricting plans that deny or abridge the rights of Latino and Black voters to vote on account of their race, color or membership in a language minority group," Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
What did Hogan say?
The Republican governor published an essay in the Wall Street Journal begging the DOJ to sue his state.
According to Hogan, just days after the DOJ announced its lawsuit against Texas, "the Democrat-controlled Maryland General Assembly overrode my veto of Maryland’s new congressional map, making the nation’s most gerrymandered map even worse and creating far more egregious civil-rights violations than in Texas."
Hogan even highlighted the fact that Garland lives in Maryland's third congressional district, which the Washington Post has declared is "the most gerrymandered district in America."
Maryland’s current Third Congressional District—which the Washington Post has called “the most gerrymandered district in America”—stretches across the state from rural areas near Annapolis to include parts of Baltimore city and Montgomery County, the affluent Washington suburb where Mr. Garland lives. To add insult to injury, the district’s representative, John Sarbanes, is the lead sponsor of H.R.1, the Democratic antigerrymandering and election-reform legislation.
"Minority voters in Maryland deserve the full protection of the law, regardless of what party benefits politically in the short term," Hogan wrote.
"Mr. Garland and the Biden administration can live up to their rhetoric by holding both parties accountable for discriminatory gerrymandering—or it can politicize the Justice Department by holding red states and blue states to different standards," he added.
To Hogan's point, Illinois Democrats have similarly proposed an extremely gerrymandered map of congressional districts. The Justice Department has not announced action against Illinois.