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The Greater Threat to Our Democracy

In response to:

The Refounding Father from the June 5, 2014 issue

To the Editors:

Professor Cass Sunstein rates Justice John Paul Stevens’s proposal to ban gerrymandering as less important than the proposal to authorize limits on money in politics [“The Refounding Father,” NYR, June 5]. Political money, though surely excessive, can be used by all sides to a political issue. Gerrymandering, by contrast, is used to entrench the power of all incumbents at the expense of all challengers, and thereby poses the greater threat to democracy. His observation that “party leaders would try to evade” an amendment to ban gerrymandering and “it would not be so easy for courts to prevent that evasion” could as well be said of every restriction adopted to curtail every abuse of power.

Jon O. Newman
Senior Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Thurgood Marshall Courthouse
New York City