Gill v. Whitford

Topic(s): 
Protecting Constitutional Rights and Requirements
Docket Number: 
16-1161
Documents:
Case Description: 

This case challenged the redistricting plan passed by Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2011. A federal court struck down the plan on the basis that violated the Constitution because it was the product of partisan gerrymandering. The lower court ruled in favor of the challengers, and the State sought review in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The questions before the Court included whether claims of partisan gerrymandering are justiciable and whether the district court correctly held that compliance with traditional districting criteria is not a safe harbor that precludes any possibility of liability for partisan gerrymandering.

Public Citizen joined an amicus brief in support of the respondents, authored by attorneys at Lowenstein Sandler LLP. The brief argued that entrenchment through severe partisan gerrymandering violates fundamental American democratic principles of representativeness and accountability in government and asked the Court to set limits on partisan gerrymandering.

In a decision issued in June 2018, the Court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing and vacated the lower court’s decision, leaving the questions about partisan gerrymandering unanswered.