DOJ Approves New South Carolina Congressional Map

Late last week, the Department of Justice precleared South Carolina’s congressional map — meaning that DOJ determined that the map does not violate the Voting Rights Act’s protections against racial discrimination. The practical impact of this decision is that six of the state’s seven post-redistricting congressional districts will likely be held by Republicans after the 2012 election. Although the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act protect against efforts to gerrymander racial minorities out of the Congress, the Supreme Court in Vieth v. Jubelirer largely abdicated oversight over politically motivated gerrymanders — thus paving the way for unchecked efforts to rig congressional elections through creative map drawing.