Harris v. Cooper (Amicus Brief)
This Supreme Court appeal arises from a challenge to a remedial congressional map adopted by the North Carolina Legislature in February 2016 after its original congressional map — which the legislature adopted in 2011 — had been struck down by a three-judge panel as a racial gerrymander. To guide the drawing of the remedial map, legislative leaders adopted rules that required the map to preserve the state’s existing partisan balance of ten Republican and three Democratic seats. After the state adopted the map, the plaintiffs filed objections, contending that it was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
In summer 2016, the panel denied the plaintiffs’ partisan gerrymandering objections. In the eight-page opinion, the court concluded that its “hands appear to be tied” because partisan gerrymandering claims are non-justiciable. Nonetheless, the court emphasized that its ruling did not prevent further challenges to the state’s remedial plan.
The plaintiffs have asked the Supreme Court to review the panel’s decision not to consider the partisan gerrymandering claim. The Brennan Center filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court, asking the Justices to summarily reverse the panel’s justiciability ruling and to remand the case for further proceedings.
The Court will decide if it will take the case sometime this term. If the Court decides to take the case, arguments are likely to be set for fall 2017. In the meantime, the Court heard argument in the state defendants’ appeal of the original racial gerrymandering claims on December 5, 2016. The Court issued a decision in that case — Cooper v. Harris — on May 22, 2017, affirming the panel's conclusion that the 2011 map was racially gerrymandered.
The Justices have scheduled the case for their June 15 conference.
District Court Documents:
- Plaintiffs’ Objections (March 3, 2016)
- Defendants’ Response to Plaintiffs’ Objections (March 7, 2016)
- Plaintiffs’ Reply In Support of Objections (March 15, 2016)
- Memorandum Opinion (June 2, 2016)
U.S. Supreme Court Documents:
- Jurisdictional Statement (August 3, 2016)
- Amicus Brief of OneVirginia 2021 in Support of Appellants (September 2, 2016)
- Amicus Brief of the Brennan Center for Justice In Support of Neither Party (September 6, 2016)
- Motion to Dismiss or Affirm (September 6, 2016)
- Brief Opposing Appellees' Motion to Dismiss or Affirm (September 19, 2016)
- Appellants' Supplemental Letter Brief (June 6, 2017)
- Appellees' Supplemental Letter Brief (June 6, 2017)