WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 22, 2017) - In a third time win for Perkins Coie attorney Marc Elias before the U.S. Supreme Court in redistricting lawsuits, on May 22, 2017, the Court upheld a federal district court decision that struck down North Carolina’s 1st and 12th Congressional Districts as racial gerrymanders in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Following trial in October 2015, on February 6, 2016, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina struck down the congressional plan originally drawn in 2011 and enjoined further elections under it, directing the North Carolina General Assembly to adopt a new map. The three-judge panel then denied the defendants’ motion to stay, as did the U.S. Supreme Court.
In delivering the opinion of the Court in Cooper v. Harris, Justice Kagan stated: “Applying a clear error standard, we uphold the District Court’s conclusions that racial considerations predominated in designing both District 1 and District 12. For District 12, that is all we must do, because North Carolina has made no attempt to justify race-based districting there. For District 1, we further uphold the District Court’s decision that §2 of the VRA gave North Carolina no good reason to reshuffle voters because of their race. We accordingly affirm the judgment of the District Court.”
Led by Washington, D.C. partner Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie team included Seattle partners Kevin Hamilton, Abha Khanna and William (Ben) Stafford; Washington, D.C. partners Bruce Spiva and Elisabeth (Lis) Frost; and Washington, D.C. associates Aria Branch and Ruthzee Louijeune.
Perkins Coie’s first win before the U.S. Supreme Court on redistricting issues was in Wittman et al. v. Personhuballah et al. on May 23, 2016. Its second win was in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections on March 1, 2017.
Click here to read the Court’s opinion.
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