Despite the fact that I live in North Carolina, I’m endorsing the ballot initiatives in California and Ohio that would shift responsibility for drawing Congressional districts to nonpartisan panels. In California, the intiative is backed by the loathsome Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Republicans, and opposed by the Democratic party, but I’m for it anyway. The current system serves mainly to protect incumbents or shuffle things for partisan advantage, and I think it’s important for us to change the rules so that Congressmen see their jobs as something more than lifetime appointments and to encourage constituent service. I honestly have no idea how the composition of Congress would change if every state drew its districts in a nonpartisan fashion, but I believe such a system would be preferable to one where partisans sit down and shuffle precincts around with specific political goals in mind.
The Ohio plan to me seems suboptimal, with its emphasis on competitiveness rather than on grouping people by community, but it’s still better than the status quo.