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Supreme Court Decision Likely to Result in Increased Electoral Opportunities for African-American Voters in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District

For Immediate Release May 23, 2016


Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a unanimous decision authored by Justice Breyer in Wittman v. Personhuballah, No. 14-1504, which involves a challenge to Virginia’s Congressional redistricting plan. The Court dismissed the appeal of current and former members of Congress from Virginia who opposed the district court’s finding of liability on the grounds that they did not have standing to appeal after the State of Virginia elected not to appeal. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), working with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, filed an amicus brief on the side of the district court plaintiffs, though not on the procedural issue relied upon by the court. At trial, the district court had found that the congressional plan violated the Fourteenth Amendment as a racial gerrymander because it packed African-American voters in the Third Congressional District to the subordination of traditional district principles without a compelling reason. The effect of the decision is that the district court’s remedial plan will be in effect for the November 2016 election.  The district court’s special master who drew the plan stated that it was likely to provide African-American voters with a reasonable opportunity to elect their candidate of choice not only in the Third Congressional District, but the adjoining Fourth Congressional District.                                                


About The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers' Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Lawyers' Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 as it continued its quest of "Moving America Toward Justice." The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment, voting, education and environmental justice.

For more information about the Lawyers' Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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