Governor Hogan’s Wall Street Journal op-ed: Mr. Garland, Please Sue My State
Maryland’s Democratic gerrymander is even worse than Texas’ Republican one.
Governor Larry Hogan
December 17, 2021
Wall Street Journal
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced last week that the Justice Department is suing Texas, alleging that its Republican-drawn redistricting map violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Days later, 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.
In announcing the Texas lawsuit, Mr. Garland argued that “a core principle of our democracy is that voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.” He’s right. The attorney general should sue Maryland, too.
As Rep. Kweisi Mfume of Baltimore, a former president of the NAACP, recently noted, his city and other parts of Maryland with high minority populations have been “chopped at and bitten at” for decades in redistricting. These gerrymandered maps diminish minority representation by combining them with distant rural and suburban areas, a practice called “cracking.”
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.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Martin Luther King Jr. said when urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. Minority voters in Maryland deserve the full protection of the law, regardless of what party benefits politically in the short term.
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.
Mr. Hogan, a Republican, is governor of Maryland.