Schwarzenegger gives an amusing and substantively sound take on gerrymandering:
His solution is a citizens’ commission to take redistricting out of the hands of legislators. As I have analyzed (see page 1296), the California Redistricting Commission has done a good job of creating competitive races where none existed before.
A commission-based approach has the advantage that it can potentially address a wide variety of offenses: partisan gerrymanders, uncompetitive districts, and racial packing. The key is to write the law with care. For example, in combating partisan gerrymandering, specifying compact districts is not as useful as it sounds unless partisan symmetry is also included as a criterion.
Another approach is to go through the courts. In this domain, an important issue is partisan gerrymandering, where levels of representation are distorted. Cases in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Maryland are percolating through the courts, with at least one of those cases (Wisconsin) likely to hit the Supreme Court in the fall.
If you’re interested in this topic, next Thursday and Friday there’s a major conference on partisan redistricting, at Duke University. If you’re in the area, register and attend!