In early December the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether state legislators in North Carolina and Virginia impermissibly relied on race in redrawing district lines. The Court is also expected to review a Wisconsin case in which Democratic plaintiffs allege that Republican lawmakers redrew district lines to maximize partisan advantage in an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Throughout the country, states have enacted a raft of new voting restrictions following Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down part of the Voting Rights Act. This panel will explore recent trends in vote denial, vote dilution, and racial and partisan gerrymandering and their impact on the 2016 presidential election. The panelists, who have backgrounds in journalism, advocacy, litigation, and academia, will also discuss what the landscape of voting rights in America will look like going forward.
David Daley is the former editor in chief of Salon and the current CEO and Publisher of the Connecticut News Project, and his work has appeared in National Journal, Rolling Stone, New York magazine, Interview, USA Today, and Details. He was appointed the Digital Media Fellow for the Wilson Center for Humanities and the Arts and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia.
In his 2016 book, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy, Daley documents a plan created by the Republican State Leadership Committee called the “Redistricting Majority Project” to “create an artificial--but foolproof Republican majority in the House and in state capitals nationwide.” Daley is a graduate of Boston College and attended journalism school at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and son.
Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Seth Kreimer is the Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he teaches constitutional law, constitutional litigation, and first amendment.
Kreimer has represented plaintiffs in an array of constitutional litigation. Among other cases, he served as co-counsel in Ferguson v. City of Charleston (U.S. Supreme Court 2001), establishing the right of obstetrical patients to refuse non-consensual drug testing; In Re R.B.F. (Pa. Supreme Court 2002), securing the right of gay and lesbian parents to establish families by second parent adoption; and Miller v. Mitchell (3rd Cir 2010) the first successful constitutional challenge to a prosecution of a minor for “sexting.” His research and writing have shaped analysis of privacy, abortion regulation, assisted suicide, and same sex marriage. He has explored the implications of DNA testing in criminal justice, free speech on the Internet, the Freedom of Information Act, and the abuses of the “war on terror.”
He received his Bachelor’s degree and J.D. from Yale.
Vice President of Litigation, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
Nina Perales is Vice President of Litigation for MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In that role, Perales supervises the legal staff and litigation docket in MALDEF’s offices throughout the United States.
Perales is best known for her work in voting rights, including redistricting and vote dilution cases. Her litigation has included successful statewide redistricting cases in Texas and Arizona as well as LULAC v. Perry, the Latino challenge to Texas 2003 congressional redistricting, which she led through trial and argued successfully in the U.S. Supreme Court. She also specializes in immigrants’ rights litigation, including leading cases striking down anti-immigrant laws in Farmers Branch, Texas and recovering civil damages from violent vigilantes.
Perales received a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and earned her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Civil Rights Attorney, Forward Justice
Caitlin Swain is an attorney with Forward Justice, a civil rights legal organization based in Washington D.C. Swain has worked as a community organizer and attorney partnering with the NAACP to advance voting rights throughout North Carolina. Swain graduated from Duke Law in 2012 and received a Skadden Fellowship to provide legal support to grassroots organizations in North Carolina that work with at-risk youth to enforce their constitutional right to a quality education. She has also worked for the Advancement Project, a Washington, D.C.-based policy and legal organization that facilitates community-based racial justice initiatives. Swain has also partnered with Advocates for Children’s Services, a statewide project of Legal Aid of North Carolina, and the NAACP to target the systemic under-education of poor students of color, which sustains the “school-to-prison” pipeline.