October 05, 2017

Jenner & Block Partner Jessica Ring Amunson, co-chair of the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice, made two appearances before the US Supreme Court in the Court’s first week of the new term.

On October 3, 2017, Ms. Amunson sat as second chair to firm alum Paul Smith, who now serves as vice president of Litigation and Strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, in the high-profile gerrymandering case Gill v. Whitford.  The Center and the firm, representing the Democratic plaintiffs, argue that partisan gerrymandering claims are justiciable and, similar to racial gerrymandering, violate voters’ rights to be treated equally.   They seek to affirm that the lower court correctly held that Wisconsin’s Assembly districts were unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. 

An article in The National Law Journal (subscription required) noted that Ms. Amunson would both appear alongside Mr. Smith in Gill and also argue before the Court for the first time.  That case is Class v. United States; Ms. Amunson represents Rodney Class, a man convicted of possessing firearms on US Capitol grounds.  He argues that his guilty plea doesn’t bar him from appealing the conviction on Second Amendment grounds.  “Our moot courtroom here at Jenner & Block has gotten a lot of use over the past couple of weeks,” Ms. Amunson said in the National Law Journal article.  “It has been very helpful in preparing for my first argument at the court to have the assistance and insight of my many Jenner colleagues who have already been through this experience themselves.”

Arguments in Class were held on October 4, 2017.  In a Bloomberg Law article covering the arguments (subscription required), Ms. Amunson is quoted saying that her client is not challenging his factual guilt but rather the statute itself.  Therefore, she said, Mr. Class may be guilty under the statute but the government still cannot constitutionally prosecute and convict him.

In addition to Ms. Amunson, others on the team representing Mr. Class include Associates Joshua M. Parker, Corinne M. Smith, and Leonard R. Powell.