In two decisions announced Thursday, the court’s conservative majority dodged its duty to protect the political process

The most important role of the federal judiciary, including the supreme court, is to check the political process by enforcing the constitution.

Related: Supreme court gerrymandering decision raises alarm as Kagan issues searing dissent – live

The court effectively put the fox in charge of the hen house

For the first time ever, this court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities. And not just any constitutional violation. The partisan gerrymanders in these cases deprived citizens of the most fundamental of their constitutional rights: the rights to participate equally in the political process, to join with others to advance political beliefs, and to choose their political representatives. In so doing, the partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people.

Related: Is this how American democracy is supposed to work? No it's not | Justice Elena Kagan

Erwin Chemerinsky is the Dean and Jesse H Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

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