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Case Name NAACP v. Merrill CJ-CT-0001
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-01094 ( D. Conn. )
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Election/Voting Rights
Attorney Organization NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Case Summary
On June 28, 2018, the NAACP, the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP, and several private citizens of Hamden and New Haven filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The plaintiffs sued the state of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Elections Board ... read more >
On June 28, 2018, the NAACP, the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP, and several private citizens of Hamden and New Haven filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The plaintiffs sued the state of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Elections Board under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by the Rule of Law Clinic at Yale Law School and the NAACP, they claimed that the Defendants' 2011 Redistricting Plan, which entailed "prison gerrymandering," violated the “one person, one vote” principle of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. They sought a declaration of unconstitutionality, an injunction against conducting elections for the Connecticut House of Representatives and Senate under the 2011 Redistricting Plan in the 2020 electoral cycle, and--in the event that the defendants were unable to implement a plan that was satisfactory--a court-ordered redistricting plan. The plaintiffs also sought attorney’s fees. This case was assigned to Judge Warren W. Eginton.

The complaint explained that in 2011 Connecticut adopted a redistricting plan for use in the 2018 and 2020 elections. The plan implemented "prison gerrymandering" in drawing lines for state legislative districts, which meant that it counts incarcerated individuals as residing in a state prison facility, rather than at their pre-incarceration address. In Connecticut, prison gerrymandering had become a particularly severe problem because of the State’s concentration of prisoners at facilities that are significant distances from their home communities. As a result of this practice, prisoners were not likely to have their legislative interests protected by representatives from the rural areas where prisons are located. The complaint alleged that such prison gerrymandering inflated the voting strength of rural white voters and dilutes the voting strength of urban African-American and Latino voters.

On September 6, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case. They argued the case was barred by the Eleventh Amendment and that the complaint failed to state a claim. As of October 7, 2018, the defendants' motion to dismiss is still pending, and this case is ongoing.

Eva Richardson - 10/02/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Voting
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Challenges to at-large/multimember district/election
Election administration
Redistricting/district composition
Vote dilution
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Connecticut
State Elections Board
Plaintiff Description The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Connecticut State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP-CT) bring this lawsuit on behalf of private citizens of Hamden and New Haven
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:18-cv-01094-WWE (D. Conn.)
CJ-CT-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-CT-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Eginton, Warren William (D. Conn.)
CJ-CT-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berry, Bradford (Maryland)
CJ-CT-0001-0001
Metcalf, Hope R. (Connecticut)
CJ-CT-0001-0001 | CJ-CT-0001-9000
Rosen, David N. (Connecticut)
CJ-CT-0001-9000
Taubes, Alexander T. (Connecticut)
CJ-CT-0001-9000
Wishnie, Michael J. (Connecticut)
CJ-CT-0001-0001 | CJ-CT-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Osborne, Maura Murphy (Connecticut)
CJ-CT-0001-9000
Skold, Michael K. (Connecticut)
CJ-CT-0001-9000

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