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Mayer Brown wins major victory in gerrymandering suit before district court

7 November 2018
Mayer Brown secured a major victory for a group of Maryland residents challenging the state’s 2011 redrawing of its congressional districts under the First Amendment, when a federal three-judge panel in the district court of Maryland struck down a partisan gerrymander and entered an injunction ordering the state to promptly adopt a new plan for use in the 2020 congressional elections.

In today’s Benisek v. Lamone decision, the court found that:

• The State specifically targeted voters in the Sixth Congressional District who were registered as Republicans and who had historically voted for Republican candidates;
• The State specifically intended to diminish the value of those targeted citizens’ votes by removing a substantial number of them from the Sixth District and replacing them with Democratic voters for the purpose of denying, as a practical matter, the targeted voters the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice;
• The State gave effect to its intent by, on net, removing about 66,000 Republican voters from the Sixth District and adding 24,000 Democratic voters in their place;
• The State meaningfully burdened the targeted Republican voters’ representational rights by substantially diminishing their ability to elect their candidate of choice; and
• The State also burdened the Republican voters’ right of association, as demonstrated by voter confusion, diminished participation in Republican organizational efforts in the Sixth District, and diminished Republican participation in voting, as well as decreased Republican fundraising.

The DC-based Litigation & Dispute Resolution team was led by partner Michael Kimberly and included partners Paul Hughes and Stephen Medlock and associates Brantley Webb and Micah Stein.

“The court’s holding that partisan gerrymandering discriminates against citizens for their views and violates the First Amendment is a clear win for democracy,” said Mr. Kimberly.

Read opinion here.