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Monday, October 24, 2022

NJ Race Discrimination Attorney, Employment Rights May Be Affected by Supreme Court Redistricting Case

The Current Supreme Court Case Regarding the Drawing of Congressional Maps and the Voting Rights Act, May Subsequently Affect All Civil Rights Statutes and Employment Discrimination Laws.

On October 4, 2022, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Merrill v. Milligan, et al., a case seeking to maintain a state’s discriminatory congressional map and undermine Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In Merrill v. Milligan, a group of Black voters and civil rights organizations claim that a re-redistricting map drawn by and sought to be enforced by the State of Alabama dilutes the voting power of Black Alabamans. 

The State of Alabama, based on its population, is currently divided into seven (7) congressional districts, each represented by a member of the United States House of Representatives. Blacks comprise approximately 27 percent of Alabama’s voting age population. Under the Congressional District Map sought to be used by Alabama, Alabama drew the congressional district lines in a manner so that only one district out of seven would have a majority of Blacks.                           

Challengers to this map argue that Alabama engaged in gerrymandering by drawing the district lines to divide the constituencies of the total voting area, to have just one district where Blacks were in the majority. Alabama drew the lines so that the remaining Blacks would be scattered among the other 6 districts and comprise a racial minority in those 6 districts, thereby diluting the voting power of Blacks in those 6 white majority districts.

If the maps had not been drawn in a manner that would not dilute the voting power of Blacks, the districts should have been proportional to the ratio of Blacks (minority), i.e., approximately 27 percent of Alabama’s voting age population, to percentage of the White majority (non-minority) i.e., 63 percent. Challengers to this map asked for lines to be redrawn so that there will be two (2) voting districts that are a “minority majority” or Black majority. In Merrill v. Milligan, et al, Alabama is vigorously opposing redrawing the lines so that even 2 of the districts will have a Black Majority.

Merrill v. Milligan is the most important Voting Rights Act case since Shelby County versus Holder where the US Supreme Court essentially gutted the Voting Rights Act. In Shelby County The Supreme Court ruled that there no longer needed to be Federal oversight for the states which had historically for centuries prevented Blacks from voting, when those very same states, (such as Alabama) which had practiced discriminatory voting rules and procedures for centuries,  make changes in their voting laws.

In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court invalidated a coverage formula identifying jurisdictions that had to pass federal scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act, referred to as “preclearance,” in order to pass any new elections or voting laws. Those preclearance jurisdictions were chosen based on having a history of voter discrimination. The Shelby County decision means that currently political subdivisions facing new discriminatory voting laws have had to file lawsuits themselves or rely on the Justice Department filing suits or challenges from outside advocates, sometimes after the discriminatory laws have already taken effect.

The Shelby Court’s rationale was that these states were no longer implementing such voting discrimination to discourage or prevent Blacks because it was no longer needed. Some states were still administering literacy tests in the 960's, even after the Voting Rights Act was passed.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in her brilliant dissenting opinion, suggested an analogy to illustrate why Federal oversight of the regional protections requiring preclearance before voting procedures could be changed in any voting district per the Voting Rights Act (VRA) were still necessary. She wrote that "[t]hrowing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

Shelby Court ruled that Section five of the voting rights Act and the preclearance regime was no longer necessary because it contained Section two.

Section two of the Voting Rights Act prohibits election practices that result in a denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race. Section two is often used for vote dilution and gerrymandering claims. Gerrymandering and vote dilution refers when legislators draw Congressional districts in a manner that dilutes the voting power of some groups and is concerned with drawing districts in a manner which dilute the voting power of racial minorities.

The case that is now before the Supreme Court, Merrill v. Milligan, concerns Section two of the Voting Rights Acts. The outcome of this case may affect civil rights and employment rights for many years to come.

Voting Rights Affect Numerous Civil Rights Including Your Rights as an Employee

When voters cast their votes for their elected officials, they are voting for their representatives who will ultimately draft, promote and vote on passing laws that expand their rights as an employee or diminish them.

Do Not Sit on Your Rights. If You Quit Your Job, You May Lose Right to Prevail in a Lawsuit.

In many instances of discrimination, if you quit your job, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit unless you first take certain legally required measures to preserve your job while you are still employed. If you are thinking of quitting, or think you will be fired, you should contact this office immediately to discuss your options in the safest way for you.

What You Can Do

Let me fight for you. I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing employees who were discriminated against by employers and was successful in recovering multiple six figure settlement moneys for them. If you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be terminated, or were terminated, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in discrimination, retaliation and whistleblower law.

If you think you may have been discriminated against, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept discrimination and whistleblower cases from all over New Jersey.

If you have been demoted, had your hours cut, terminated, harassed or been subjected to retaliation for complaining about, objecting to, refusing to participate in, or reporting what you believe is your employer’s illegal or improper conduct, you should contact this law firm as soon as possible. I am successful in bringing whistleblower and discrimination lawsuits against governmental entities and private employers and recovering money for workers.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law represents workers throughout the entire state, including Hackensack, Jersey City, Newark, Irvington, Orange, East Orange, Trenton, Paterson, Montclair, Elizabeth, North Brunswick, Union, Plainfield, Lakewood, Edison and in every county including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law has convenient locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.


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