OneVirginia2021, a nonprofit organization engaged in a comprehensive effort to remove partisan gerrymandering from the redistricting process in Virginia, joined an amicus brief filed yesterday in the United States Supreme Court in Gill v. Whitford, No. 16-1161, a case appealing a three-judge federal court decision striking down the 2011 Wisconsin legislative redistricting as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
OneVirginia2021 has filed amicus briefs in several recent Supreme Court racial and partisan gerrymandering cases, specifically emphasizing the anti-democratic harm caused by extreme gerrymandering in Virginia, and pointing specifically to the many uncontested races and record setting low voter turnout in the Commonwealth’s 2015 legislative elections.
In this case, however, the group is focusing less on Virginia specific electoral outcomes, and more on the need for judicial recognition of constitutional limitations on extreme partisan gerrymandering in order to safeguard our representative democracy.
OneVirginia2021 was one of 11organizations joining the brief asking the Court to set limits on severe partisan gerrymandering. The organization’s President, Gregory Lucyk, a former Senior Assistant Attorney General of Virginia, noted “we are especially grateful that the brief includes a citation to our own documentary film: ‘GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy on its Head,’ to support a statement from Virginia Senator Tim Kaine regarding the non-responsiveness of legislators elected from gerrymandered districts. I am excited to know that our own OneVirginia2021 documentary is now part of the Supreme Court’s record in the appeal of this hugely important case.”
More than thirty amicus briefs have been filed with the Court seeking an end to partisan gerrymandering, including a separate brief from Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sheldon Whitehorse (D-R.I.). Amicus briefs also were filed by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; a bipartisan group of 36 current and former members of Congress; a bipartisan group of 65 current and former state legislators; numerous public interest organizations; academics and legal scholars, including a brief joined by UVA Professor Larry Sabato.
“I am gratified and even overwhelmed by the broad, bi-partisan support shown in this case for ending partisan gerrymandering, and for putting political power back where it belongs – in the hands of the voters,” Lucyk said.
The Gill v. Whitford appeal is set to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 3.