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Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. Georgia

On April 24, 2017, the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP filed a lawsuit alleging that Georgia’s 2015 state house map was drawn with discriminatory purpose in violation of the Constitution and Voting Rights Act. In addition, the plaintiffs assert that the map resulted in unconstitutional racial and partisan gerrymanders.

Published: January 15, 2019

Note: The Bren­nan Center is not a parti­cipant in this case.

Case Back­ground

The Geor­gia State Confer­ence of the NAACP is chal­len­ging two districts in the 2015 state house plan, which is the product of a mid-decade redis­trict­ing by Repub­lican lawmakers. The plaintiffs claim Repub­lic­ans used race as a means for “achiev­ing [a] partisan end” when they redrew the map to protect white Repub­lican incum­bents and deny African-Amer­ican voters an equal oppor­tun­ity to elect their candid­ates of choice.

The plaintiffs are asking a three-judge panel to declare that the two chal­lenged districts viol­ate the Consti­tu­tion and Voting Rights Act, order them redrawn, and impose preclear­ance require­ments on Geor­gia for the next ten years under section 3 of Voting Rights Act.

The state filed a partial motion to dismiss, arguing, among other things, that the plaintiffs’ claims under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Four­teenth Amend­ment lack factual alleg­a­tions that could show discrim­in­at­ory effect. The state also disputed the plaintiffs’ reli­ance on the three-part test from Whit­ford v. Gill for their partisan gerry­man­der­ing claim, arguing that the plaintiffs have not shown that the test—which was origin­ally developed to respond to a state-wide gerry­man­der­ing chal­lenge—is reli­able or appro­pri­ate for chal­lenges to single-districts.

On August 25, the court entered an order dismiss­ing the plaintiffs’ section 2 and partisan gerry­man­der­ing claims. The order did not address the plaintiffs’ racial gerry­man­der­ing claims which remain pending.

After the court consol­id­ated this case with Thompson v. Crit­tendenthe court ordered discov­ery to begin on the racial gerry­man­der­ing claims. On March 9, discov­ery relat­ing to the racial gerry­man­der­ing claims concluded. Discov­ery on the remain­ing section 2 claims will conclude on Octo­ber 12. 

On June 1, the court denied the plaintiffs’ request for a prelim­in­ary injunc­tion.

On Septem­ber 4, 2018, the court gran­ted the plaintiffs’ request to amend their complaint to include partisan gerry­man­der­ing claims. 

On Janu­ary 15, 2019, the court gran­ted the parties’ joint motion to dismiss the case without preju­dice.

Docu­ments

District Court