CLC’s Supreme Court Brief from Census Bureau Directors Stresses Data Problems Inherent to Proposed Changes in “One-Person, One-Vote” Case


On September 25, 2015, four former U.S. Census Bureau directors filed an amici brief in Evenwel v. Abbott, emphasizing that a proposal to replace Census total population data for Texas redistricting purposes with one of two voter-based measures would be woefully imprecise in assuring compliance with the constitutionally mandated one-person, one-vote principle.  The Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing the former Census Bureau directors.

The case challenges the State of Texas’ use of U.S. Census total population numbers for redistricting the state’s 31 state Senate seats as is commonly done in most states.  Appellants seek to have the court compel the State of Texas to utilize the number of voting age citizens or the number of registered voters to reapportion and redistrict legislative seats.  The former Census Bureau directors stressed that adequate data to support the proposed changes simply does not exist and urged the Supreme Court to affirm the lower court’s rejection of the challenge. 

“The state of Texas does very little right when it comes to redistricting but at least it currently begins the process with population data from the Constitutionally mandated Census,  but appellants are asking the Court to dictate the use instead of imprecise statistics in the process,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Campaign Legal Center Executive Director.  “Who better to speak to the insufficient and inadequate nature of the data appellants propose to use than four former Census directors.  We hope the Court will uphold the lower court ruling and not compound the problems that already riddle the redistricting process in most states, and especially Texas.”

The Legal Center and Southern Coalition for Social Justice were aided in the filing of the amici brief by Paul M. Smith, Jessica Ring Amunson, and Mark Gaber of Jenner & Block.

To read the brief, click here