The U.S. Supreme Court this month will hear oral arguments in two cases that will test the court’s readiness to tackle the issue of partisan gerrymandering.
In North Carolina, Republican lawmakers manipulated voting software to eliminate or reduce the ability of Democratic candidates to win in certain congressional districts. In Maryland, the Democratic Party used the same tactics toward its own political ends.
The evidence that substantiates these allegations is detailed in a friend-of-the-court brief that the SPLC filed today in conjunction with several other civil rights groups. The groups are supporting a lawsuit which the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and other parties filed with the high court on March 4.
The Supreme Court will hear the arguments in the case on March 26.
“The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit to ensure that voters, not politicians, decide who their elected officials will be and can hold them accountable for the laws and policies they adopt,” said Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “Gross examples of partisan gerrymandering, as shown in this case, undermine our democratic principles and the people’s confidence in our electoral system. We strongly urge the court to use this opportunity to provide a national standard that protects voters and promotes fairness.”
The League of Women Voters’ complaint and the friend-of-the-court brief urge the Supreme Court to uphold lower court rulings that struck down gerrymandered districts as unconstitutional.
Campaign Legal Center, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and University of Chicago Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos represent the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and 12 individual North Carolina plaintiffs in the case, Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina. The Supreme Court will simultaneously hear a companion case, Lamone v. Benisek.
“Election manipulation through partisan gerrymandering undermines faith in America’s most basic civic principle: the right of the people to elect their representatives and to ensure that their elected representatives remain accountable to them,” the complaint says.