PILF to SCOTUS: The Senate Factors Create an Impermissible Intrusion into the Power of States to Run Their Own Elections

The Senate Factors Need to be Reconsidered by the Court.

(Alexandria, VA) – May 2, 2022: The Public Interest Legal Foundation filed an amicus curiae in John Merrill, et al v. Evan Milligan, et al. and John Merrill, et al v. Marcus Caster, et al., currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. The lower court found that Alabama’s 2021 redistricting plan violated Section Two of the Voting Rights Act.

The Foundation argues in its brief that the Supreme Court should rework and change the way it views the Voting Rights Act.  Specifically, PILF argues that states should no longer be held liable because third parties campaign with racial appeals. The lower court allowed racial appeals in campaigns to count against Alabama’s redistricting. PILF asks the Court to reassess the “Senate Factors” jurisprudence that has driven election litigation for over three decades.

In particular, Senate Factor Six, considers “whether political campaigns have been characterized by overt or subtle racial appeals.” This allows courts to consider political statements made by private parties when evaluating whether a state violated the Voting Rights Act. This creates an undue burden on states.

“The Senate Factors must be reconsidered by the Court,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams. “They transform Section Two into an unconstitutional intrusion into states powers to run their own elections. Statements made by private parties have been used against states.  This is fundamentally unfair to defendants and should end.”

You can read the full amicus curiae here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly 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. PILF has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.


Public Interest Legal Foundation