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Congresswoman Clarke’s Statement on Evenwel v. Abbott

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the Supreme Court oral argument in Evenwel v. Abbott, a case that threatens to dramatically reduce the representation of people of color and immigrants who have not yet become citizens.

Since 1964, the Supreme Court has required electoral districts for state legislatures and for Congress to include approximately the same number of people. The case will determine whether the population of an electoral district depends on the total population or the population of eligible voters within the district.

“Evenwel v. Abbott constitutes another devious attempt to undermine the political participation of people of color, by reducing our ability to elect members of state legislatures and the House of Representatives. Communities in which there are many African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans are on average significantly younger, including more minor children who are not yet eligible to vote, and include a higher percentage of recent immigrants who have not yet become citizens of the United States. The redrawing of election districts based on the population of eligible voters would effectively divert critical resources from communities such as Brooklyn to communities that are older (and typically wealthier) and fail to include many immigrants. The several district courts and courts of appeals that have considered this matter have been unanimous in their conclusion that state legislatures have the full authority to create electoral districts based on total population, not the more limited measure of eligible voters. I urge the Supreme Court to protect the right of people of color to participate in our politics.”

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Small Business in the House of Representatives, proudly represents Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, Park Slope, Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.