Voting Rights and Democracy

RELEASE: Partisan Gerrymandering a Critical Test for Chief Justice Roberts

CAC Civil Rights Director David Gans: Preventing the government from entrenching the governing party in power has been a theme of the Chief Justice’s First Amendment jurisprudence. If he follows these fundamental First Amendment principles, he could strike a blow in favor of democracy and ensure that voters choose their representatives, not the other way around.

WASHINGTON – Following oral arguments at the Supreme Court in the partisan gerrymandering cases—Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek—Constitutional Accountability Center Civil Rights Director David Gans, who watched the arguments at the Court this morning, issued the following reaction:

Last year, Chief Justice Roberts decried judicial intrusion into partisan gerrymandering on the basis of what he called “sociological gobbledygook.” During today’s argument, we saw a more measured Roberts. Although he at times displayed some of his previous skepticism, in a key moment during the second of the two cases heard today, Roberts appeared to recognize that the First Amendment forbids the government from acting to disfavor voters because of their affiliation.

Preventing the government from entrenching the governing party in power has been a theme of the Chief Justice’s First Amendment jurisprudence. If he follows these fundamental First Amendment principles, he could strike a blow in favor of democracy and ensure that voters choose their representatives, not the other way around.

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Resources:

CAC brief in Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/rucho-v-common-cause-lamone-v-benisek/

“The Supreme Court Has A Chance To Push Back On Gerrymandering Today: In the past, Chief Justice John Roberts has ruled the First Amendment forbids the government from favoring some voters over others. Will he stick by his words?” David Gans, BuzzFeed, March 26, 2019: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidgans/opinion-gerrymandering-rigs-democracy-supreme-court

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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