New York, NY, April 4, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Evenwel v. Abbott, which held that “a State may draw its legislative districts based on total population.”
In so ruling, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the longstanding constitutional principle that one person, one vote means that every constituent counts, and rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments that only registered or eligible voters should be counted in drawing district lines.
“The ruling in Evenwel is an important and sweeping victory for our democracy,” said Marvin Nathan, ADL National Chair. “The Supreme Court reaffirmed that everyone deserves representation. Our elected officials do not just represent people who can cast a ballot - they represent all constituents in their districts.”
ADL joined an amicus brief authored by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights which argued that barring states from using total population to draw district lines could unfairly exclude current and potential voters from the democratic process and would lead to underrepresentation of groups disenfranchised by discriminatory voting laws.
“The plaintiffs’ claims - that states should be required to draw district lines according to registered voters or eligible voters instead of total population - would have opened the doors to political mischief,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “It could have greatly disadvantaged communities with high numbers of children or those who have been disenfranchised by discriminatory voting laws.”
Mr. Greenblatt added, “As the Supreme Court recognized, though, state and local legislators make important decisions that impact everyone in their districts - including about school funding, infrastructure, and local regulations - not just those who can vote. This decision sends a strong and important message: in our democracy everyone must count.”