Professor Janai Nelson joined a group of fellow election law experts in an amicus brief in North Carolina’s latest racial gerrymandering challenge. The case, Dickson v. Rucho, is pending before the state’s Supreme Court. The brief calls for the court to correctly interpret Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which protects racial minorities from discrimination in voting. The brief asserts that the North Carolina General Assembly’s redistricting plan explicitly segregated North Carolina’s citizens into districts based on race, resulting in the packing of African Americans into fewer districts and diluting their voting strength in violation of the Act. In particular, the amici argue:
“The General Assembly’s claim that its racial balkanization was required by the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”) turns the VRA on its head. A statute meant to combat the ‘insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution,’ . . . was instead used to perpetuate the very evil of racial discrimination it was designed to thwart.” [Citation omitted.]
Professor Nelson, who teaches and writes on race and election law, joined another amicus brief with experts in her field earlier this year in a case before the United States Supreme Court, Shelby County v. Holder, in which the Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act.