Campaign Legal Center (CLC) submitted an amicus brief in the Maryland legislative redistricting case encouraging the court to adopt the widely used and reliable standards and tools to evaluate partisan gerrymandering and rule that Maryland’s Declaration of Rights limits lawmakers’ ability to use partisan gerrymandering to silence voters holding...
In the Matter of the 2022 Maryland Legislative Redistricting
At a Glance
This case is a challenge to Maryland’s state legislative redistricting plan, arguing that the plan is an extreme partisan gerrymander that violates the Maryland Constitution. CLC filed an amicus brief discussing the harms of partisan gerrymandering and advocating that the Maryland Court of Appeals rule that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.Back to top
About this Case
CLC’s amicus brief explains that partisan gerrymandering — whether done by Democrats, Republicans or anyone else — harms all citizens’ freedom to vote and right to equality in the political process. Partisan gerrymandering enables mapdrawers to skew district lines so that politicians can pick their voters and enhance their political advantage. CLC argues that Maryland’s maps should provide for the fair and effective representation of all citizens, not just the people likely to support the politicians drawing the map. CLC’s brief contends that Maryland courts should use manageable and reliable standards and tools to evaluate extreme partisan gerrymanders. CLC encourages the court to rule that the Maryland Declaration of Rights’ Free Elections Clauses and its guarantees of equal protection and free speech limit politicians’ ability to use partisan gerrymandering to silence voters holding minority political viewpoints.
What’s at stake
Fair and community-driven districting is key to empowering voters and ensuring that elections reflect the will of the people, no matter where they live, their background, or who they support. Partisan gerrymandering does the opposite. Gerrymandering is contrary to basic democratic principles because it allows self-interested politicians to draw lines that skew elections by favoring some voters over others.
Maryland has long had problems with partisan gerrymandering, which culminated last redistricting cycle in the U.S. Supreme Court case Benisek v. Lamone that was a companion litigation to CLC’s Rucho v. Common Cause case. While the U.S. Supreme Court in those cases declined to intervene to restrict partisan gerrymandering, it explicitly recognized that state courts applying state constitutional protections can ensure their state’s citizens have fair maps.
State supreme courts in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio have answered the call by recently ruling unconstitutional numerous partisan gerrymanders. Now, the Maryland Court of Appeals can do the same by making clear that partisan gerrymandering has no place in Maryland.