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CHC ON EVENWEL V. ABBOTT
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members released the following statements on Evenwel v. Abbott. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case today and CHC Members led a press conference outside the Court earlier this morning. Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and Thomas Saenz from the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) spoke on the devastating effects the case would have on the Latino community.
In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court will determine whether voting districts should continue to be drawn by using census population data, which include noncitizen immigrants, or whether the system should be changed to count only citizens eligible to vote, as conservative challengers are seeking.
The case would have enormous implications for the Latino community and Latino representatives at every level of government.
CHC Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez: “Evenwel v. Abbott is an attempt to erase the Latino community off the map. At 55%, Latinos stand to be the most affected – ironically – at a time when our community is growing. Less representation would mean fewer resources for already marginalized communities. The case before us goes against the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and simply doesn’t make sense. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will not stand for these radical attempts to undermine Latinos.”
Congressman Joaquin Castro: “This case is an affront to our democracy. It sends a message to millions of Americans in this country that they don’t count. We should encourage folks to participate in the electoral process, not strip them of their representation. Those pushing this case support changes that contradict the Constitution and the spirit of our democratic process. Everyone counts in this nation, and our election laws should reflect that.”
Congressman Ruben Gallego: “This case was brought up because the American electorate is changing, and a growing Latino population is changing what we know about American politics. This case is an attempt by those who feel threatened to erase the Latino community off the map and it puts our community’s policy priorities at risk. The concept of ‘one-man, one-vote’ is an American ideal that has been enshrined now for nearly 150 years. For the Supreme Court or any group to arbitrarily try to wipe that away overnight goes against the core tenants of American democracy.”
Congressman José Serrano: “Evenwel vs. Abbott seeks to make invisible millions of individuals in the legislative redistricting and democratic process – including taxpayers that contribute to our economy, young people that represent our future generations, and minorities that are an integral part of our communities. Every person living in America deserves to be counted, to be represented, and to be served in our democracy, even if they are not eligible and registered to vote. The court should uphold these principles, and reject arguments that would have a devastating effect on the Latino community after all the progress we have made in recent years. “
Congressman Luis Gutiérrez: “Our political system should respond to the many, not the few. The principle of ‘one person, one vote’ has served this country well and in the modern era, we should not make fundamental political and governance decisions based on race, ethnicity, age, or immigration status. It is simply the wrong direction to go.”
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard: “If the Supreme Court rules broadly for the plaintiff in Evenwel v. Abbott, it would have devastating effects for Latino communities across the country, especially in my home state of California. My Los Angeles-area district has the largest percentage of Latinos in the country, and is already in dire need of more federal resources. If voter registration were used to redraw district lines, California’s 40th District would be further stretched to include an additional 150,000 people at the minimum. For too many districts, the precedent set by the Evenwel v. Abbott decision has the potential to seriously set back our political system’s ability to represent all members of our society.”
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez: “Non-voters like children have a vital stake in how their government is run, but this case would essentially tell them their voices do not matter and they do not count. The Court should reject this brazen effort to undo fifty years of progress toward equality at the ballot box.”
Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva: “American democracy belongs to everyone who calls this country home. Drawing lines for elected office based upon voter participation is a blatant and shameful attempt to disenfranchise and deny representation within our communities. Our nation learned first-hand that democracy for some is not democracy at all. The Evenwel case is an attempt to repeat that mistake, and I urge the Supreme Court to reject it outright.”
Congressman Ben Ray Luján: “This case is an attempt to manipulate the redistricting process by denying representation to millions of Americans. Determining electoral districts on the basis of registered voters rather than the total population excludes non-voters, including children, and undermines our commitment to equal treatment for all people. Every person deserves to be represented by their elected leaders.”
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