Supremacy Clause: Standing Gerrymandering

July 12th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

Gill v. Whitford, 585 U.S. ___ (2018); Benisek v. Lamone, 585 U.S. ___ (2018).   U.S. Supreme Court has found that gerrymandering case must be brought by those with standing.  That was the holding in Gill.  In Benisek, the court found a lack of grounds for an emergency injunction.  In Gill, the plaintiffs were supporters of the public policies espoused by the Democratic Party and of Democratic Party candidates.  The court kicked the can down the road in both cases but spoke specifically in Gill about the standing issue.  Some of the standing principles articulated is that the harm asserted by plaintiffs is best understood as arising from a burden on the plaintiff’s own votes.  In this gerrymandering context, that burden arises through a voter’s placement in a “cracked” or “packed” district.  The plaintiffs failed to meaningfully pursue their allegations of individual harm.  The plaintiffs did not seek to show requisite harm on the record.  It appears that not a single plaintiff sought to prove that he or she lived in a cracked or packed district.  Instead, they rested their theory on statewide theory to Wisconsin Democrats.  This is a case about group political interests, not individual legal rights.  The court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences.  The courts constitutionally prescribe specifics to vindicate the original rights of the people appearing before it.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]



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