Professor Rebecca Green, Scholars File Amicus Brief Challenging Gerrymandering in Virginia

Brief supports challenge to General Assembly’s 2011 legislative districts.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA, JUNE 30, 2017 - Professor Rebecca Green joined a group of Virginia law professors to file an amicus brief today supporting petitioners’ appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia in Vesilind v. Virginia State Board of Elections. The suit challenges the General Assembly’s 2011 legislative districts, contending that the General Assembly violated the state constitution’s compactness requirement.

“Among other requirements, legislators are bound by our state’s constitutional command of compactness. Line drawers cannot elevate discretionary factors—like incumbency protection—above state constitutional requirements like compactness,” Green explains. “The framers of Virginia’s constitution included these protections to ensure that legislators draw district lines that serve voters’ interests, not their own.”  

In their brief, the amici ask the Supreme Court of Virginia to require the General Assembly to demonstrate that it used a constitutionally defensible standard in drawing districts.   

The lawsuit is backed by OneVirginia2021, a bipartisan organization seeking redistricting reform in the Commonwealth. William & Mary Law School graduate Brian Cannon ’11 is OneVirginia2021’s Executive Director. Cannon’s fellow alum Nick Mueller ’12 (now at the Federal Election Commission) helped litigate the case now on appeal as an associate at Wyatt Durrette.

Green added, “I’m enormously proud of Brian and Nick’s work to address the problem of gerrymandering. The two were leaders on William & Mary Law School’s team in the 2011 Virginia Redistricting Competition. It was very clear to me that both would go on to be important voices in the push for redistricting reform.”  

Professor Green joins professors A. E. Dick Howard of the University of Virginia (the principal drafter of Virginia’s current constitution), Mark E. Rush of Washington & Lee University, and Carl W. Tobias of the University of Richmond School of Law on the amicus brief in support of the petitioners.  

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