Supreme Court Ruling on Texas Redistricting Case Affirms Value of One Person, One Vote - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Supreme Court Ruling on Texas Redistricting Case Affirms Value of One Person, One Vote

WASHINGTON – In a unanimous 8-0 ruling, the Supreme Court today ruled that states may use total population to calculate and distribute voting districts. Plaintiffs in the case contended that instead, voting population should be used to create districts. This alternative scheme would have meant districts would grossly undercount younger populations and communities facing the highest barriers to registration and voting – factors that would undercut representation of communities of color. The national racial justice organization, Advancement Project, co-counsel on an amicus brief in this case, released the following statement in response to today’s ruling:

“Today’s ruling in Evenwel v. Abbott marks a critical turning point in the fight for equal representation in our democracy,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “The Supreme Court has affirmed the value of one person, one vote to apply to all persons by rejecting a chaotic and discriminatory redistricting scheme that would count only a select few. Due to age distributions, immigration trends and our nation’s unfortunate legacy of voter suppression, basing our electoral mapping on voting population would have systematically pushed people of color out of the realm of equal representation. We are glad the Supreme Court rejected this scheme and maintained that our elected officials should represent all those who live in their district.”

“The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was enacted so that people of color would no longer be considered only three-fifths of a person. In rejecting the case made by plaintiffs in Evenwel, the court declined a scheme that would count some people as zero-fifths of a person,” said Advancement Project Director of Voter Protection Katherine Culliton-González. “This simply cannot be rationalized in a democracy, and we are pleased that the Supreme Court agreed. Excluding young Americans under the eligible voting age from redistricting maps is simply a proxy to undercount communities of color, which are on average younger than the White population. Only counting voting population when redistricting further discounts the 8.8 million lawful permanent residents in the United States who are eligible and waiting for naturalization. And even among naturalized and U.S.-born citizens who are above the age of 18, people of color still disproportionately face voter suppression tactics like voting list purges, disenfranchisement of formerly incarcerated people, and voter ID laws. Everyone deserves to be counted in a democracy – that is the crux of equal representation. Today’s ruling is one step, of many, needed to protect the core values of representative and constitutional democracy.”

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Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

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