Supporting Black Georgians in a Challenge to At-Large System of Election for Georgia’s Public Service Commission (Rose v. Raffensperger)


At a Glance

Campaign Legal Center, alongside other pro-democracy groups FairVote, Protect Democracy, and RepresentUs, filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Rose v. Raffensperger, a challenge to Georgia’s at-large system of election for the state’s Public Service Commission under the Voting Rights Act. 

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About this Case

In Georgia, the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is elected on a statewide basis, even though members serve in one of five geographically-based districts.  On July 14, 2020, a group of Black voters filed a case challenging Georgia’s at-large system of election for the state’s PSC under Section 2 of the VRA. On August 5, 2022, the district court found that the PSC system of election unlawfully diluted the votes of Black Georgians.

But ultimately, on November 24, 2023, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the trial court’s judgment, holding that the statewide electoral structure for PSC was deliberately chosen by the legislature to further the state’s interests and that plaintiffs had failed to provide an adequate remedy at the first stage of the Gingles test that would preserve that interest.  

CLC joined with FairVote, RepresentUs, and Protect Democracy to submit an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs’ petition for the Court to review the Eleventh Circuit’s decision. The brief emphasizes the purpose and requirements of the first part of the Gingles test—clarifying that there is no requirement for plaintiffs to present an adequate remedy at the liability stage—and the range of options available to remedy vote dilution under the VRA including non-plurality at-large electoral systems. Amici are represented by Hogan Lovells in the filing of the brief.

What's at stake:

The Eleventh Circuit’s decision involved a novel misreading of the requirements to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act—a deeply troubling departure that could complicate future VRA litigation and does not make any sense under existing law—and altogether prevented the plaintiffs from using Section 2 to dismantle a statewide at-large system, concerningly weakening the scope of the Voting Rights Act contrary to its text and intent.  

The current system of electing the PSC dilutes the voices of Georgia’s Black voters, and CLC and our partners are calling upon the U.S. Supreme Court to consider all options to ensure that every Georgian voter can be heard in the state’s elections. 

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Supreme Court
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