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Supreme Court Rules Out Defending Democracy in Partisan Gerrymandering and Defers on Census Count Case

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Supreme Court Rules Out Defending Democracy in Partisan Gerrymandering and Defers on Census Count Case 

June 27, 2019, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today decried the Supreme Court’s decision in two cases involving partisan gerrymandering  the North Carolina case, Rucho v. Common Cause, and the Maryland case, Lamone v. Benisek  and in the census case Department of Commerce v. New York that would allow the insertion of a citizenship question that will surely create an inaccurate count. Jody Rabhan, NCJW’s director of government relations and advocacy, released the following statement: 

The decision by the Supreme Court to ignore the harm caused by partisan gerrymandering both to voting rights and to the ability to legislate fairly — indeed to function democratically at all  is very discouraging. Democracy is gravely threatened when states are permitted to rig congressional districts to achieve a pre-determined outcome. These machinations were surely not what our founders had in mind when they crafted a representative democracy, however imperfect. Without oversight by the federal government, the fight for fair elections will have to continue state by state in what seems like a never-ending and uphill effort to ensure that every vote counts. 

“We agree with Justice Kagan, who said in her dissent from the bench, ‘The partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people.’ The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has worked for more than 100 years to defend and advance the right to the vote, and in the face of this decision, we will work all the harder.” 

The justices in effect deferred final action on the insertion of a citizenship question in the 2020 census, leaving open the possibility that the question will survive. That would be another disservice to our democracy. In the meantime, the US district court has proceeded to examine new evidence of partisan motivation for alteration of the census. Rabhan added: 

“The failure of the courts to disallow the added citizenship question based on its partisan and anti-democratic motivation is deeply disappointing. The census is still endangered. We call on the district court to thoroughly examine new evidence that this is the case. The Trump Administration should drop this initiative before its reputation on issues of democracy is further tarnished. These decisions today remind us just how much courts matter, and in particular, how much our lower courts matter to every issue we care about.  

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW. 

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