LatinoJustice Files Amicus Brief in an Important Gerrymandering case in Front of the Supreme Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2017

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513, 917-673-9095 or jgarcia@latinojustice.org.

LatinoJustice, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF) and four other civil rights legal organizations have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Gill v. Whitford. The case could force Wisconsin to redraw its state assembly map after a trial court struck down the map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. A 3-judge appeals panel ruled that Wisconsin had to redraw the lines, but the state appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Whitford will likely impact redistricting efforts nationwide, including the redistricting that will be done at all levels of government after the 2020 Census. The case, on appeal from the District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, concerns the limits on partisan gerrymandering.

“We have to take politics out of our redistricting process in order to fairly represent all citizens,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “There are enough barriers to voting and schemes to keep people out of the electoral process. The drawing of electoral lines must be kept non-partisan.”

The Supreme Court has previously upheld a lower court ruling in a racial gerrymandering case that vindicated the rights of minority voters. But the Court to date has been unable to create a judicially manageable standard for deciding that a partisan gerrymander violated the constitution. The court on two prior cases deferred on providing an answer.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) has been one of the most effective tools for protecting and expanding minority voting rights in this country for 52 years. Our brief contends that the VRA does not stand in conflict with a cause of action for partisan gerrymandering, and, in certain cases, as the amicus brief makes clear, a partisan gerrymandering claim can also protect minority voters.

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights join LDF as signatories to the brief.

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