Will Tennessee redistricting proposal end up in court?

Posted at 8:32 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 23:14:43-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With state Republicans releasing their plan to re-draw the political boundaries in Tennessee, splitting Davidson County into three different congressional districts, Democratic groups are vowing to sue.

But Vanderbilt Law School Professor Jim Blumstein said fighting the proposed redistricting plan may most likely be an uphill battle.

Blumstein said when it comes to redistricting plans, the U.S. Supreme Court cares about most whether districts are divided equally -- the principle of one person, one vote.

Blumstein said courts have concluded that redrawing lines to favor one political party's chances is just part of politics — perhaps even if it breaks up a city center.

"It's a political decision whether parts of counties are going to be Rutherford, Robertson, whoever's ox is going to be gored, or if it's Davidson," Blumstein said.

To win in court, Blumstein said Democrats would most likely have to prove racial discrimination was the predominant factor for drawing the lines the way they did.

"There can't be discrimination against Blacks, if that's the predominant factor, but there can be favoritism toward Republicans, and if it turns out a lot of Blacks are Democrats and they're going to be hurt, that's not going to be enough — they'll have to show that's the primary focus," Blumstein said.