ACRU

ACRU: Count Citizens—Not Illegals—When Creating Legislative Districts

Courts - Justice statue from below

Brief urges U.S. Supreme Court to hear challenge to Texas’ use of “total population” in allocating legislative seats

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 5, 2015) —- The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to states giving more political power to areas with high illegal alien populations. In a brief filed today, the ACRU argues that Texas and a U.S. District Court erred in approving state senate districts based on “total population” rather than on eligible citizen voters. “Total population” includes illegal aliens.

Counting non-voters, including illegal aliens, when assessing the size of senate districts, gives citizens living in areas with high numbers of illegal aliens more senate seats than areas with mostly U.S. citizens, the ACRU says in the brief, filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in Evenwel and Pfenninger v. Abbott et al.

The current plan subsidizing illegal alien political power was created by a three-judge panel in response to a Voting Rights Act lawsuit challenging a 2011 redistricting plan that properly counted voters, not total population.

The judges’ plan was eventually adopted by the Texas legislature and signed into law in 2013. In response, Texas citizens Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger sued the state, alleging that voters are unequal under the new counting method.

The ACRU brief, written by General Counsel Peter Ferrara, notes that even the United States Department of Justice uses only citizen population in allocating legislative seats in redistricting litigation.

Plus, the Supreme Court has long held that legislative districts should establish that each citizen has equal representation in legislative bodies. “The doctrine of one-person, one vote logically and morally grows directly out of the fundamental right to vote itself,” the brief says. “The equal right of all to vote logically gives rise to the right of all to an equal vote.”