Common Cause Asks SCOTUS to End Partisan Gerrymandering
The fate of partisan gerrymandering is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Today we filed a “motion to affirm” the Common Cause v. Rucho case, effectively asking the Supreme Court to agree with the trial court ruling that North Carolina’s congressional map is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
This request could go one of three ways.
- SCOTUS could reverse our case without hearing it and maintain the status quo, allowing politicians to put party over people when drawing voting boundaries.
- It could affirm our case without hearing it and order a new map for North Carolina.
- Or, as most SCOTUS watchers predict, it could agree to hear oral arguments to determine whether partisan gerrymandering violates fundamental constitutional principles and should be prohibited.
Kathay Feng, our national redistricting director, can put that in perspective: “If SCOTUS decides to hear Common Cause v. Rucho, it could result in the first ever decision by the high court stating that partisan gerrymandering violates the U.S. Constitution.”
Our lead litigator is Emmet Bondurant, deemed a “voting rights legend” in a recent American Public Media story on the battle against voter purges in Georgia. This would not be Bondurant’s first SCOTUS case.
At 26 and fresh out of Harvard, he successfully persuaded the Earl Warren-led SCOTUS to throw out Georgia’s racist county unit system in favor of one-person, one-vote, a significant win for African American voting rights. Now 81, with 50+ years of civil rights cases on his resume, Bondurant aims to convince Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and SCOTUS to rule partisan gerrymanders unconstitutional based on a notorious partisan gerrymander in North Carolina.
We argue, and twice this year a trial court has agreed, that the North Carolina map was drawn to ensure a 10-3 Republican advantage in U.S. House seats, and it weakened the political power of black voters, cracking America’s largest historically black university into two congressional districts, among other injustices.
Bondurant says at its heart, this is a viewpoint discrimination case, a blatant example by North Carolina Republicans to limit the political speech of anyone who holds a viewpoint different than them.
“It is our hope that Common Cause v. Rucho will establish clear, understandable, simple guidelines that not only the North Carolina legislature, but legislatures and independent redistricting commissions throughout the country, can use that will tell them in pure and simple language that you cannot favor one party over the other, you’ve got to adopt neutral, rational principles and run fair elections,” he said.
Read more about Common Cause v. Rucho here.