A panel of federal judges ruled this week in Common Cause v. Rucho that Republican legislators in North Carolina unconstitutionally drew the state’s congressional districts to favor their own party. This is the first federal court decision to hold congressional districts to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.
The ruling, which is likely to be appealed to the US Supreme Court, is also notable for another reason: It cited four works authored or co-authored by Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law Richard Pildes.
A leading expert in election law, Pildes is active as both a practitioner and scholar. In a voting rights case that concluded last year, he won rulings from the US Supreme Court, and then, on remand, from a three-judge panel of federal judges, that overturned a race-based state redistricting plan in Alabama. Along with Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law Samuel Issacharoff, Pildes pioneered the field of study known as the Law of Democracy.
Yesterday’s ruling in Common Cause cited the foundational casebook they and Stanford Law School Professor Pamela Karlan wrote on the topic in 1998, The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process. (The book is now in its fifth edition.) The ruling also quoted from “Separation of Parties, Not Powers,” a Harvard Law Review article by Pildes and David Boies Professor of Law Daryl Levinson.