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Schwarzenegger teams up with Holder to ‘terminate’ gerrymandering

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) is teaming up with former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder to push for redistricting reform, saying he wants to “terminate” gerrymandering.

Schwarzenegger joined Holder for an event Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where the two spoke on the issue just hours after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases involving alleged partisan redistricting. Schwarzenegger called gerrymandering a “national scandal.”

“I think that scandal has been going on and on. And so I want to terminate that problem,” he added, a joking reference to his role in “The Terminator.”

{mosads}It’s not the first time that Schwarzenegger has addressed the issue. While governor of California he pushed two ballot initiatives that moved control of redistricting for state house seats and congressional seats from state legislatures to a nonpartisan commission.

It’s also a prominent issue for Holder, who currently chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, an organization founded by former President Obama.

“We formed the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in January 2017, all with the aim of making our democracy more fair and to have representatives who reflect the desires of the people who put them in the office,” said Holder.

“I think President Obama is exactly correct,” he continued. “We have a system now in too many places where politicians are picking their voters as opposed to citizens choosing who their representatives are going to be.”

The event also comes as the Supreme Court grapples with the issue. The court on Tuesday heard two cases dealing with redistricting, looking at whether North Carolina Republicans and Maryland Democrats used their control of the state legislatures to redraw district maps to their advantage.

The justices expressed concern over the issues, but appeared divided over whether the high court should be involved.

On Tuesday, Holder and Schwarzenegger both said the high court must step in.

“One thing I would ask the court and I would direct this at Chief Justice Roberts especially, who is an institutionalist, do you want to be the Justice who is the head of a Court that is responsible for Citizens United, who is responsible for Shelby County that gutted the Voting Rights Act and then also have a Court that says there are no limits when it comes to partisan gerrymandering?,” Holder said, referring to other landmark rulings.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, only four states currently use an independent commission to draw districts lines, an approach favored by both Holder and Schwarzenegger. In the 2018 midterms, four more states voted to move redistricting to independent commissions.

“One of the things I know that Gov. Schwarzenegger and I agree on is this idea of independent commissions to actually draw the lines is actually one of the better systems in which it can be done,” said Holder.

“Whenever you put it on the ballot people immediately vote for it because it’s a no-brainer,” said Schwarzenegger. “It is unacceptable what is happening with the gerrymandering.”

During their discussion, the two also emphasized that redistricting reform should not be seen as a partisan issue.

“When it comes to this subject, redistricting reform, I don’t care if it’s a blue wave or a red wave,” said Schwarzenegger. “I don’t give a damn about that because there are a lot of issues that are truly people’s issues and not political issues.”

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