Jenner & Block

Partner Jessica Ring Amunson Discusses Modern Redistricting Cases in The Atlantic

Jenner & Block Partner Jessica Ring Amunson is quoted in an article titled “How Redistricting Became a Technological Arms Race,” which explores the modern legal and political landscape around redistricting.  The article explains that “redistricting is the great game of modern politics, and the arms race for the next decade’s maps promises to be the most extensive—and most expensive—of all time.” 

Chair of the firm’s Election Law and Redistricting Practice and co-chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice, Ms. Amunson comments on the high-profile gerrymandering case Gill v. Whitford.  She is co-counsel with the Campaign Legal Center and sat second chair when oral arguments were made before the US Supreme Court in October.  In Gill, the Democratic plaintiffs argue that partisan gerrymandering claims are justiciable and, similar to racial gerrymandering, violate voters’ rights to be treated equally.

In the article, Ms. Amunson notes that academics have been struggling since the 2004 Vieth v. Jubelirer case to come up with partisan symmetry metrics to measure political gerrymandering claims.  “Many partisan symmetry metrics have been developed and honed since the Court’s decision in Vieth and since Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the Vieth case,” she says.  Gill, she observes, is the culmination of a long analytical arms race. 

The newest metric to reach the Court in Gill is the “efficiency gap,” a tally of the “wasted” votes that happen either when a voter votes for a losing candidate or when a voter votes for a candidate who would have won anyways.