JANUARY 2018 – Nicholas F. Daum, of counsel at Kendall Brill & Kelly, and Laura W. Brill, KBK co-founding partner, together with lawyers from the Brennan Center of Justice and Bazelon, Less & Feldman PC, authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Brennan Center in League of Women Voters v. Pennsylvania General Assembly, an action challenging the constitutionality of the partisan gerrymander of Pennsylvania’s federal congressional districts. This case, pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is a milestone challenge under state constitutional law to extreme partisan gerrymandering. It comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is also simultaneously considering the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering under the federal constitution in the case of Gill v. Whitford, which concerns Wisconsin’s state legislative maps. KBK and Ms. Brill also participated in preparing an amicus brief in Gill, on behalf of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
“While Pennsylvania is a swing state, whose voters prefer the two major political parties roughly equally, the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly carefully manipulated Congressional district lines to ensure an overwhelming advantage for the GOP in all election cycles, an advantage so enduring that it would require an unprecedented wave election to overturn,” Daum said. “That is unconstitutional and violates the fundamental principles that in a democracy elected officials should represent the preferences of the voters, and laws should not discriminate on the basis of partisan affiliation. As we pointed out in the amicus brief, the Brennan Center has shown that courts have both qualitative and quantitative tools that can easily identify extreme, unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders and differentiate them from permissible uses of politics in redistricting.”