PILF Praises SCOTUS Decision on ‘Partisan Gerrymandering’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – June 18, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement praising the Supreme Court’s finding that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring claims against Wisconsin’s 2011 redistricting map (Gill v. Whitford 16-1161).

“Partisan interests want courts to draw legislative districts. The Supreme Court just made that harder,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The job of the Judiciary isn’t to decide political disputes that are best resolved in state legislatures. The Court was wise to not break with this tradition today.”

The opinion today noted in part:

That shortcoming confirms the fundamental problem with the plaintiffs’ case as presented on this record. It is a case about group political interests, not individual legal rights. But this Court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences. The Court’s constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it.

The Foundation, on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union, submitted an amicus brief detailing constitutional concerns in 2017. A summary of arguments are provided below.

Court precedents on the responsibilities of redistricting are clear. Except in cases where a redistricting plan targets a “racial minority for special discriminatory treatment”, states are constitutionally charged designing political jurisdiction. The brief echoes Chapman v. Meier: “We say once again that has been said on many occasions: reapportionment is primarily the duty and responsibility of the State through its legislature or other body, rather than of a federal court.”

Partisan gerrymandering claims upset the federalist balance of power. “The [lower court] based its admittedly novel conclusion not on a finding of discrimination abhorrent to deeply rooted constitutional principles but on the finding that the drafters of the plan intended ‘to entrench the Republican Party in power.’ Such a finding, built on a shaky foundation, at best, upsets the delicate balance of power,” the brief notes.

A copy of the brief, submitted on August 4, 2017 has been made available, here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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