Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Abbott v. Perez about whether to affirm a three-judge court’s decisions that Texas’s congressional and state legislative redistricting maps, implemented in 2013, unlawfully furthered and maintained the purposeful dilution of Black and Latino voting strength in 2011 maps and that the electoral districts impacted by that purposeful discrimination must be fully remedied.
Leah Aden, Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), provided the following statement:
“Abbott v. Perez is emblematic of the time-consuming and costly affirmative work that advocates must engage in to uproot racial discrimination in voting following the Supreme Court’s devastating ruling in Shelby County, Alabama. Advocates have spent the better of this decade challenging these redistricting plans that had previously been blocked in 2012, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, before the Supreme Court essentially removed that most successful protection from racial discrimination in voting.
“This case matters because it gives the Court the opportunity to make clear that interim remedial redistricting maps, such as those that have been in place in Texas since 2013, are not the final and full remedies to which victims of intentional discrimination are entitled. Such a determination by the Court has particular salience to LDF’s work to ensure that intentional discrimination—like that found by another federal court to exist with respect to Texas’s 2013 enactment of the strictest photo ID law in the nation—is eliminated root and branch. Indeed, after a federal trial court’s ruling that Texas’s initial 2011 photo ID legislation is intentionally discriminatory—legislation which was also blocked in 2012 under Section 5—the state, as in the redistricting case pending before the Supreme Court, legislatively adopted an interim remedy that does not fulfill its obligation to provide a final and complete remedy for its intentional discrimination.”
Earlier this month, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, joined an amicus brief in Perez v. Abbot, filed by the Campaign Legal Center and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law that asserts that Texas has failed to completely rectify the intentional racial discrimination foundational to Texas’s 2011 redistricting maps by simply codifying 2013 interim remedial redistricting plans. In short, the brief argues that consistent with precedent, the practical realities of litigation, and common sense, interim relief cannot be the final solution to intentional racial discrimination. Indeed, as the amicus brief makes clear, were the Supreme Court to reverse the three-judge court’s post-trial findings, it “would profoundly disrupt the incentives for both courts and parties at the interim stages of litigation by establishing interim relief as the potential outer limit of potential final relief even be-fore full adjudication of the merits of a case.
Read the full amicus brief here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.