UK professor speaks on Kentucky, national gerrymandering

Taylon Baker

Gerrymandering is slowly becoming a national issue. The Supreme Court’s pending decision on multiple state’s districting is likely to affect midterm elections.

UK law professor Joshua Douglas, who recently wrote an opinions piece on gerrymandering for the Los Angeles Times, said that all states deal with gerrymandering.

“All states deal with partisan gerrymandering, and both major political parties do it,” Douglas said. “In fact, sometimes both parties agree on a map that helps to protect incumbents, and I think we saw some of that in the last round of redistricting here in Kentucky.”

Washington Post data from 2014 ( suggests that districts in western Kentucky are among some of the most gerrymandered in the country.

The term heard so often in political science classes and in law, gerrymandering, by definition, is manipulating the boundaries of a voting district so as to favor one party or class. These District lines are redrawn every 10 years following the completion of the United States Census to avoid bias.

Politicians draw those new district lines and Douglas said that’s “crazy,” as those lines often favor the party with the greatest majority.

“It is crazy that politicians can draw the lines that will help keep them in power,” Douglas said. “Some states have used independent redistricting commissions, to great effect. It can even start at the local level, with cities and counties using truly independent commissions to draw city council lines. Everyday citizens can contact their local representatives to advocate for these reforms.”

Douglas has written several scholarly articles extolling the importance of state constitutions for protecting the right to vote. It is because of this that the LA Times contacted Douglas asking him to write the piece on this decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The piece written discusses the power and importance of state constitutions in protecting the right to vote. It highlights the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision striking down that state’s congressional map as violating the state constitution.

This is particularly noteworthy given that a federal court recently upheld the map under the U.S. Constitution. The op-ed thus encourages more states to rely on their state constitutions to provide greater protections to the right to vote.

Douglas has also had multiple television appearances and to read more of his work check out his website at or his Twitter at @JoshuaADouglas.