WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the League of Women Voters of the United States joined an amicus brief filed by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, a racial gerrymandering case to be heard before the Supreme Court of the United States this fall. The brief is also joined by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Campaign Legal Center, Demos, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP will be argued before the Supreme Court following an appeal of a three-judge panel that ruled South Carolina’s redistricting of Congressional District 1 was an intentionally discriminatory and unconstitutional racial gerrymander. In Rucho v. Common Cause, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering claims were non-justiciable in federal court. The central issue in this case, is whether state legislatures can use claims of partisanship as a cover for racial gerrymandering, especially in states where race highly correlates with political affiliation.
The amicus brief emphasizes a fundamental principle that the Supreme Court has long acknowledged in its redistricting precedents: race cannot be the predominant factor when drawing district boundaries, even if it is used to achieve political objectives == absent a compelling interest that does not exist here. Lawmakers cannot hide behind the veil of partisanship while undermining racial minorities in the redistricting process. The Lawyers’ Committee will continue fighting for a society where justice, equality, and the rights of every voter are fiercely protected and upheld.
The following organizations joined the Lawyers’ Committee in filing the amicus brief: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Campaign Legal Center, Demos, League of Women Voters of the United States, Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Read the full amicus brief here.
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The case of League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho challenges North Carolina’s 2016 congressional redistricting plan, arguing the plan violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
The LWVNC v. Rucho case is a partisan gerrymandering challenge to the North Carolina congressional map. Partisan gerrymandering is the practice of drawing electoral district lines in a way that discriminates against a political party.
March 26th marks the anniversary of the landmark Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina (also known as Rucho v. Common Cause) Supreme Court oral arguments. The Supreme Court's ultimate decision, that federal courts cannot make determinations on partisan gerrymandering, would have major consequences for representation across our democracy.
We spoke with Allison Riggs, who was chosen to represent the plaintiffs and argued the case before the Supreme Court. Now, Riggs, who is now co-executive director and chief counsel for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, gives us her first-hand account of what happened in the courts.