New Challenge to P.C. Racial Gerrymandering

by Roger Clegg

The indispensable law firm (who knew there could be such a thing?) Consovoy McCarthy Park filed an important lawsuit on Wednesday, challenging the constitutionality of the California Voting Rights Act. That statute requires in particular that race-based single-member districts be created and that they replace at-large systems if “racially polarized” voting exists; the complaint alleges that this violates the Fourteenth Amendment because such “race-based sorting of voters” does not serve a compelling government interest and is not narrowly tailored.

The lawsuit is important not just because it challenges an aggressive, identity-politics-uber-alles law in our nation’s largest state, but because the federal Voting Rights Act is frequently used to coerce racially gerrymandered districts as well. To be sure, the California law goes further than the federal law has (so far), and indeed was passed to circumvent limits put on racial gerrymandering by the U.S. Supreme Court. But a successful lawsuit here could have salutary effects in other states and at the federal level, too.

So kudos all around: to the law firm, to the plaintiff (a former mayor, Don Higginson), and to Ed Blum and the Project for Fair Representation, who acted as matchmaker for the two.

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