Case Name: Gill v. Whitford

Type of Case: Redistricting

Court: United States Supreme Court

Case Number: 16-1161

Current Status: Dismissed when foreclosed by new Supreme Court precedent

Democrat supporters filed a federal challenge to Wisconsin’s 2011 redistricting map for state legislative districts, arguing that the new map unconstitutionally favored Republicans over Democrats.  A three-judge panel struck down the districts, and the State asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.

We filed an amicus brief urging the Court to hear the case, and when it agreed, filed another amicus brief supporting the State’s position.  We argue that courts have never held that an illegal gerrymander may be based on partisan distribution (as opposed to racial distribution), and further that the maps are constitutional, because they are based on traditional redistricting factors.

On June 18, 2018, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the lower court decision, concluding that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate standing – specifically that they had suffered specific individualized harm from the redistricting.  The Court remanded the case to allow the plaintiffs to demonstrate that harm.

However, in another partisan redistricting case, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that such claims are “nonjusticiable”, meaning that they are political questions left up to the other branches to handle and that courts have no role in resolving such claims.  After that ruling, this case was dismissed.

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