Case Summary

On June 28, 2018, Plaintiffs, including the NAACP and several individuals, brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut alleging that Connecticut’s 2011 state legislative map utilizes prison gerrymandering in violation of the “one person, one vote” requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Prison gerrymandering refers to the allocation of incarcerated persons as residents of the district where they are incarcerated (i.e. where the prison is located) rather than of the district where their pre-incarceration home was located, which plaintiffs alleged had the purpose and effect of diluting the voting power of African American and Latino prisoners. Plaintiffs sought an injunction barring the 2011 state legislative maps from being used and further requested the court order the drawing of new maps if the legislature failed to do so.

On September 6, 2018, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing plaintiffs' suit was barred by sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment and that only a three judge panel had jurisdiction to decide the case. After the District Court denied their motion to dismiss, defendants appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and moved for a stay in the proceedings pending appeal. On July 15, 2019, the Second Circuit granted Appellants’ stay motion and ordered an expedited interlocutory appeal on the their Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity and three-judge court jurisdictional defenses, with oral arguments being held on September 10, 2019. In an opinion issued on September 24, 2019, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of the motion to dismiss on the grounds of sovereign immunity, but reversed their ruling as to the necessity of appointing a three-judge panel to handle the case. The Second Circuit then remanded the case to district court where future proceedings in the case will be handled by a three-judge district court panel.

A joint stipulation of dismissal was filed by the parties in district court on April 14, 2020, which was granted by the court two days later.

Case Library

U.S. District Court of the District of Connecticut - 3:18-cv-01094

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit - 19-576