Courthouse Steps: Cooper v. Harris Redistricting Update - Podcast

Free Speech and Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Hans A. von Spakovsky May 31, 2017

On May 22, the Supreme Court threw out two North Carolina congressional districts as discriminatory. State legislatures face confusion over how to redistrict without violating either the Voting Rights Act or the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. What does this case mean for the redistricting that will occur throughout the country after the 2010 Census?  How can courts distinguish between legally acceptable partisan and unacceptable racial motives in redistricting when certain racial groups disproportionately support one particular political party? Hans von Spakovsky, a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Justice Department, discussed these issues and the Cooper decision.


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

Redistricting Tested in the Supreme Court - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law and Civil Rights Practice Groups Podcast
Maya Noronha December 07, 2016

On December 5, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold oral arguments on two redistricting cases, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. After the movement of population, both Virginia and North Carolina legislatures redrew plans for their state legislative districts. However, plaintiffs in each state challenged the plans as racial gerrymanders diluting the vote of African-American voters. Both cases raise the question of how to comply with the Voting Rights Act requirement that racial minorities have the ability to elect representatives of their choice, along with the Constitutional prohibition of race predominating in the drawing of plans. The Court will be also be asked to clarify the acceptable ways to consider minority populations in drawing plans, what plaintiffs need to show to prove a racial gerrymander, and what would trigger strict scrutiny.


  • Ms. Maya M. Noronha, Associate, Baker & Hostetler LLP


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