Lulac v. Perry: The Frumious Gerry-Mander, Rampant
Election Law Stories (Joshua A. Douglas & Eugene D. Mazo, eds. 2016)
Posted: 2 Aug 2016 Last revised: 3 Aug 2016
Date Written: September 1, 2015
Election law is the infrastructure of representative democracy, and hence the basis for most other law. In this most fundamental of fields, this is the story of the case with everything.
Absconding officials. Abuses of power. Ethical malfeasance. Alleged theft. Midnight legislation. Partisan bloodletting. Political revenge. Entitled incumbents. Procedural hijinks. Marginalized minorities. Willie Nelson. Misdirection. Whistleblowing. Primaries. Coalitions. Polarization. Retrogression. Preclearance. Discrimination. Redistricting. Re-redistricting. Race. Party. Power. Voice.
LULAC v. Perry is about a fight over a few election districts in Texas. And it is a fight about so very much more. This chapter tells the story of the salacious political and legal battle, including a Supreme Court victory by an advocate arguing her first appellate case in any forum, on behalf of clients most observers had entirely ignored. In accessible terms, it helps to explain the way that the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution do and do not constrain politics. The chapter even presents a new understanding of the theory behind the Court’s redistricting cases.
No experience is required. But you might want a seatbelt.
Professors who are feeling unkind contemplate giving the fact pattern of LULAC as a final exam. The case is one part democratic theory, one part institutional turf war, one part action-adventure.
Once upon a time . . .
Keywords: redistricting, race, gerrymandering, Voting Rights Act, partisan, politics, Texas, election, compactness, Willie Nelson
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