Common Cause Plaintiffs Urge Swift Return of North Carolina Partisan Gerrymandering Challenge to U.S. Supreme Court

The Common Cause plaintiffs in Common Cause v. Rucho submitted a brief to the three-judge federal district court panel today arguing that the case is ready for immediate review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Gill v. Whitford, the Justices vacated the panel’s previous ruling that North Carolina’s congressional map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and remanded the case in light of Gill’s requirements for establishing standing to sue. The Common Cause plaintiffs argue that the case they have built was from the beginning consistent with the Supreme Court’s recently-stated standing requirements and that no further factual examination is needed.

“Plaintiffs challenging blatant partisan gerrymanders in North Carolina, Maryland, and Wisconsin provided the Supreme Court with a variety of constitutional approaches for ending or limiting the manipulation of legislative districts for political advantage,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Now that the Supreme Court has given us a roadmap, it is clear that Common Cause’s North Carolina case fits the bill and should head back to the high court as soon as possible.”

“Our plaintiffs clearly have standing and have suffered real harm by the legislature’s extreme partisan gerrymandering, as the district court unanimously ruled in its landmark decision from January,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. “This case is key to protecting the constitutional right of citizens in North Carolina and across the nation to have a voice in choosing their representatives.”

Common Cause v. Rucho was consolidated at trial and at the Supreme Court with League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho. Consistent with the standing requirements the majority and concurring opinions described in Gill for Fourteenth Amendment vote dilution claims, Common Cause plaintiffs include the North Carolina Democratic Party and at least one individual voter from each of the state’s 13 congressional districts. In addition, the Common Cause plaintiffs established a well-developed First Amendment challenge and proved violations of Article I, § 2 and Article I, § 4 of the Constitution. The Article I claims are unique among the partisan gerrymandering cases and are not impacted by standing requirements that apply only to Fourteenth Amendment vote dilution claims.

To read the brief, click here.

Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

To view this release online, click here.