Briefs Providing the Perspectives of Bipartisan Elected Officials on the Problems with Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering

To help court-watchers sort through more than one thousand pages of amicus briefs in Gill v. Whitford, the Brennan Center has prepared an annotated guide breaking down each brief's most important arguments.

September 29, 2017

Brief of Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse in Support of Appellees

Summary: This brief, filed by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), warns that the Court's failure to establish clear limits on partisanship in redistricting has encouraged politicians to gerrymander, which has, in turn, provided another channel for "dark money" and special interest groups to infiltrate our politics. Voters sense that their elections have been fixed by special interests, the Senators assert, and that has undercut their respect for American political institutions. The law firm Covington & Burling is counsel for this brief.

Brief of Republican Statewide Officials in Support of Appellees

Summary: This brief, filed by prominent Republican elected officials John Danforth, Bob Dole, John Kasich, Richard Lugar, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, emphasizes how partisan-gerrymandering tactics designed to entrench one party in power undermine attempts to build consensus and craft bipartisan legislation that is responsive to the needs of the whole electorate. Charles Fried—who served as U.S. Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan—and the law firm Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick are co-counsel for this brief.

Brief for Bipartisan Group of Current and Former Members of Congress in Support of Appellees

Summary: This brief, filed by a bipartisan coalition of current and former members of Congress, explains how extreme partisan gerrymandering undermines the functioning of the U.S. House of Representatives. Among other things, as the legislators explain, gerrymandering makes compromise politically impossible and stokes voter disenchantment with—and disengagement from—the political process. The law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP is counsel for this brief.

Brief for Bipartisan Group of 65 Current and Former State Legislators in Support of Appellees

Summary: This brief was filed by a bipartisan coalition of 65 current and former state legislators from Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, including current U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. The brief sheds light on the detrimental effects gerrymandering has for relationships among legislators—discouraging collaboration and creating an environment of dysfunction on the legislative floor. The legislators also explain how gerrymandering erodes relationships among representatives and their constituents, including by undercutting their accountability to the voters in their districts. The law firm Holwell Shuster & Goldberg is counsel for this brief.