Protecting Eligible Voters: Evenwel v. Abbott and the Future of Redistricting - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
J. Michael Connolly, Ilya Shapiro August 05, 2016

In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution’s one-person, one-vote rule allows States to draw their legislative districts based on total population. In doing so, the Court rejected the appellants’ argument that the one-person, one-vote rule protects eligible voters and thus required States to equalize the population of eligible voters, not total population. The Court explicitly declined to resolve whether States may draw districts to equalize voter-eligible population rather than total population.

Our experts analyzed the Supreme Court’s decision and reviewed the constitutional history underlying the one-person, one-vote doctrine. They discussed the impact of Evenwel on future redistricting decisions, including the Court’s willingness to accept legislative districts based on eligible voters.


  • J. Michael Connolly, Counsel, Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC
  • Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

Packing Districts?: Supreme Court Decides Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
Hans A. von Spakovsky April 22, 2016

On April 20, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, a case challenging Arizona's state legislative district map as partisan gerrymandering. Our expert discussed the opinion and what it means for the Court’s voting rights jurisprudence.


  • Hon. Hans A. von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

Packing Districts?: Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
Mark F. Hearne December 18, 2015

Last term, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s independent redistricting commission. State legislators had challenged the creation of such a commission, arguing that transferring their redistricting authority violated the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Now, in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the Court will consider a challenge to state legislative districts drawn up by the commission. A group of voters argue that the commission overpopulated Republican-dominated districts by packing in non-minority voters while placing minority voters in smaller, Democrat-dominated districts. The result, they argue, is the dilution of votes in GOP districts, which violates the “one person, one vote” guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Mark “Thor” Hearne, counsel for Harris in the case, discussed his impressions of oral arguments and made predictions about how the Court might rule in this important case.


  • Mark F. Hearne, II, Partner, Arent Fox LLP

Redistricting Litigation Update - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
Justin Levitt, Ilya Shapiro, Dean A. Reuter April 03, 2012

Redistricting Litigation Update - PodcastThe decennial census has again produced the decennial redistricting litigation -- not least in Texas, whose attempts to draw districts for the 2012 elections have engulfed two three-judge district courts, the Department of Justice, and the Supreme Court. The Texas litigation has been complicated by what some see as the conflicting demands of Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. In Perry v. Perez, the Supreme Court vacated the interim maps a lower court drew and gave that court instructions on how navigate the legal tangle. That may have expedited the resolution of Texas's election conundrum but by no means resolved the broader issues involved. Join us for a Federalist Society Teleforum on Perry v. Perez, the Voting Rights Act, and other developments in election regulation. Featuring: Prof. Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School Los Angeles and Mr. Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute. [Listen now!]

Perry v. Perez - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 02-03-12 featuring Ilya Shapiro
Ilya Shapiro February 03, 2012

SCOTUScast boxOn January 20, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Perry v. Perez.  This case involved efforts to redraw Texas’ electoral districts due to an increase of four million residents identified by the 2010 Census.  Texas proposed a new electoral plan, but as a “covered jurisdiction” was required by the Voting Rights Act to obtain preclearance from a special court in Washington, D.C. before the plan could take effect.  While Texas’ petition for preclearance was pending, several groups challenged the proposed plan in federal court in Texas, which then drafted an interim electoral plan for use in upcoming 2012 elections.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether this interim plan improperly disregarded details of the plan proposed by Texas.

In a per curiam opinion, the Court unanimously held that it was unclear whether the federal court in Texas had followed appropriate standards in drafting its interim plan.  The Court therefore vacated the interim plan and remanded the case for further proceedings.  Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Ilya Shapiro, who is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute.