Amicus Brief Filed In Fletcher v. Lamone, District of Maryland Greenbelt Division

Amicus Brief Filed In Fletcher v. Lamone, District of Maryland Greenbelt Division

December 2, 2011
|

In their motion for a preliminary injunction, the Plaintiffs challenge Maryland’s landmark civil rights law, the “No Representation Without Population Act”, alleging that the law violates the equal protection principle of ‘One Person One Vote’ and Article I of the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiffs are mistaken.

In enacting the No Representation Without Population Act, the state exercised its discretion under federal law to use the best possible data for redistricting, in this case to correct what the legislature determined was a systematic flaw in the federal census: the manner in which the census counts incarcerated people as if they were residents of the correctional facility, instead of their legal home residences. The legislature determined that the No Representation Without Population Act was necessary to correct the striking inequity that existed previously due to the crediting of incarcerated people to electoral districts where they cannot vote, where they have no community ties, and where they are not considered residents for any other purpose other than the Census. The previous practice had a particularly negative effect on African-American communities, because African-Americans are disproportionately incarcerated, but the majority of Maryland’s prison cells are located in overwhelmingly white districts. The new law addresses this problem by crediting incarcerated people to their last known addresses and ensuring that their home community of interest is given appropriate weight at the redistricting table.

Contrary to Plaintiffs’ claims, the thoroughly documented and consistently applied implementation of the No Representation Without Population Act resulted in districts that are more equal than districts drawn prior to the laws’ enactment, and so did not contain such an adjustment. Further, Plaintiffs cannot argue that the No Representation Without Population Act disadvantages them as African-American voters because the facts they cite demonstrate the opposite: As you would expect from a law designed to properly credit African-American communities with their true populations, the No Representation Without Population Act serves to enhance African-American representation.