After an eight-day trial featuring testimony from dozens of witnesses, three federal judges unanimously concluded that the South Carolina legislature racially gerrymandered Congressional District 1 (CD1) in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court found that the legislature set an impermissible racial target of 17% Black voters in CD 1, and then surgically removed tens of thousands of Black voters from of the district in order to meet it. This was designed, the court found, to “bleach” the Black voting community in the Charleston area.
Soon after the court ordered the state to redraw CD 1, South Carolina appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is set for argument on October 11, 2023.
On August 18, CLC joined a friend-of-the-court brief filed by Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and other voting rights organizations urging the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s ruling. The brief asks that the Court reject South Carolina’s argument that its hands are clean because its motivation for moving thousands of Black voters out of CD 1 was partisan.
Supreme Court precedent has long made clear that states may not achieve partisan goals by discriminating against voters based on race. The brief requests the Court uphold this precedent and affirm the right of Black South Carolinians to be free from racial gerrymandering.