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Briefs Explaining How Partisan Gerrymandering Violates Constitutional Values

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 19, 2017

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

Summary: This brief was filed by the Constitutional Accountability Center on behalf of a bipartisan panel of 39 current and former members of Congress, including the Minority Leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi. The brief examines the Constitution’s text, structure, and history—as well as the Supreme Court’s case law—to illuminate how redistricting plans designed to entrench a party’s majority status violate core constitutional values and prohibitions.

Brief for American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, County of Santa Clara, Democracy 21, Demos, Friends of the Earth, Government Accountability Project, National Council of Jewish Women, Natural Resources Defense Council, OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, and Public Citizen, Inc., in Support of Appellees

Summary: This brief, filed by an array of good government groups, public policy organizations, and governmental entities, explains that severe partisan gerrymandering violates core American values that originated with the Framers and that it remains problematic for Americans of all political stripes. The law firm Lowenstein Sandler is counsel for this brief.

Brief of Represent.Us and Richard Painter in Support of Appellees

Summary: This brief was filed by Represent.Us and Richard Painter, former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush and a current professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Amici explain that extreme partisan gerrymandering is an unconstitutional legislative abuse of power amounting to corruption. Represent.Us and the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy are co-counsel for this brief.

Brief of David Boyle in Support of Appellees

Summary: This brief, filed by a voter concerned about the efficacy of his vote under extreme partisan gerrymanders, identifies constitutional provisions and basic values that could inform the Court’s analysis of the legality of such gerrymanders.