In this lesson, students will learn how state legislatures and governors can manipulate the redistricting process to gain an advantage for their party in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures. Students will learn what constitutes gerrymandering and the typical types of gerrymandering used. Students will role play state legislators and collaborate to draw both gerrymandered and not gerrymandered districts. Students will consider the foundational redistricting case Baker v. Carr (1962) and classify arguments made in the case. In addition, students will evaluate the proper role of the Supreme Court in state redistricting cases.
Rucho v. Common Cause (2019)
This case explores the following issues: Do Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina (the plaintiffs) have constitutional standing to make these partisan gerrymandering challenges? Are the plaintiffs’ partisan gerrymandering claims able to be heard by the Court? If plaintiffs have standing and their claims are justiciable, is North Carolina’s 2016 congressional map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander?
Civic Education and Election Resources
It’s election season in the United States and a good time for students to understand why local and national politics matter and the core principles on how our democracy and elections works. What is gerrymandering? How can we strengthen our democracy? Plan how to answer questions like these as Election Day draws closer. Use these free K-12 civic education lessons, activities, blogs and webinars to help you educate students on the election and the importance of counting every vote. Additional topics include fostering civil discourse, fighting fake news, voting rights and debate ideas to keep your students informed and engaged.
Lesson Plan: How States Redistrict – The Case of 2022
This lesson plan explores the Congressional and state redistricting processes in several states, including Texas, Florida, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Illinois, Ohio, and West Virginia. The lesson extends to the legislative, executive, and judicial processes as well as the geographic and demographic considerations of redistricting.
The Constitutional Convention
In this lesson, students will use C-SPAN video clips to examine the founding principles that emerged from the Constitutional Convention as well as hear about some of the people who participated. Students will use this information to analyze the role the compromise played in the creation of the Constitution.
Shaw v. Reno (1993)
Did the North Carolina residents’ claim that the 1990 redistricting plan discriminated on the basis of race raise a valid constitutional issue under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause? North Carolina drew legislative districts to create a majority black district.
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Do federal courts have the power to decide cases about the apportionment of population into state legislative districts? This case relates to voting equality- one person’s vote should be as meaningful as another’s.
Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (2015)
Did Proposition 106 violate the Elections Clause of the US Constitution by removing congressional districting power from the state legislature? The case summary provides the facts, and the Supreme Court’s answer to this question.