EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Partisan Gerrymandering and the Supreme Court: The Role of Social Science"

Partisan Gerrymandering and the Supreme Court: The Role of Social Science
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - 4:30pm
Gates B03
Eric McGhee (Public Policy Institute)
Abstract / Description: 

***The talk for October 31, 2018 is drawn from our back list of videos and will not be a live presentation. This talk was originally given November 1, 2017. ***
We have been planning to have a speaker for this slot to address the issues of elections in a technological state. Despite many discussions and invitations, we have been unable to find anyone willing to take on speak about the current juncture of politics, technology, and economics.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case this term, Gill v Whitford, that might lead to the first constitutional constraints on partisanship in redistricting. Eric McGhee is the inventor of the efficiency gap, a measure of gerrymandering that the court is considering in the case. He will describe the case's legal background, discuss some of the metrics that have been proposed for measuring gerrymandering, and reflect on the role of social science in the litigation.

Related NPR Science Friday Talk (Nov 3):

Does Math Have A Place In The Courtroom. Audio is 17 minutes.
So is it possible that these Ivy League-educated Supreme Court justices really don't understand the math of this case? Oliver Roeder, senior writer for FiveThirtyEight joins Ira to discuss whether the Supreme Court is allergic to math, and what that means for future cases. And Moon Duchin, associate professor of mathematics at Tufts University, returns to discuss the best math to use for rooting out gerrymandering.


Eric McGhee is a research fellow at PPIC, where he focuses on elections, legislative behavior, political reform, and surveys and polling. His research on elections and electoral reform has appeared in top academic journals and in numerous state and national media outlets. Politico recently named his work on redistricting one of the 50 Ideas Blowing Up American Politics. Before joining PPIC, he was assistant professor of political science at the University of Oregon and served as a Congressional Fellow through the American Political Science Association. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.