BU Center for Antiracist Research Files New Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Voting Rights Case

In October 2022, the Center partnered with Professor Atiba R. Ellis, a nationally-recognized voting rights expert, and the law firm Brown Rudnick to file an amicus brief in Moore v. Harper, a voting rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court that will have significant implications for democracy and racial justice.

This case concerns the “Independent State Legislature Theory” (ISLT), which proponents argue gives state legislatures near-exclusive authority to regulate federal elections. If successful, proponents of this theory will block state courts from fulfilling their important role in our government’s system of checks and balances.

In this case, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down a partisan gerrymandered map for violating the state constitution, and the gerrymanderers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the North Carolina Supreme Court did not have the authority to do so under the ISLT. 

The brief describes the potential racist impact of the ISLT and the important role courts have historically played in checking attempts to suppress and dilute the votes of Black people and other people of color in North Carolina. The brief urges the Court to reject the ISLT and uphold the power of judicial review to provide a critical check on majoritarian interests.

The oral arguments for Moore v. Harper have been scheduled for the morning of December 7, 2022. This brief, filed on Oct. 26, is one of nearly 70 filed in the case, which will determine whether the state courts can overturn legislative attempts at partisan gerrymandering. 

The BU Center for Antiracist Research’s contributors included Policy Program Director Caitlin Glass, Associate Director of Policy Neda Khoshkhoo, Professor and Chair of Policy Jasmine Gonzales Rose, and research assistant Brea Childs. The Center partnered on this brief with Professor Atiba R. Ellis of Marquette University School of Law and the law firm Brown Rudnick, whose team included Sigmund Wissner-Gross, Rebecca Lecaroz, Jessica Meyers, Jessica Lu, Johanna Fay and Elizabeth Hosang.