Judicial Watch Senior Attorney Robert Popper to Testify to Florida House Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that Senior Attorney Robert Popper will provide testimony tomorrow, February 18, before the Florida House Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee during consideration of “PCB CRS 22-01 – Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State.”
Date: Friday, February 18, 2022
Time: 9:00 a.m. ET
To watch the virtual hearing live online, click here.
Popper’s testimony will focus on how Florida’s proposed 3rd Congressional District would be subject to legal challenge as a racial gerrymander if Florida’s state legislature approves the new map.
Popper’s testimony will point out the Supreme Court has held that:
“[R]edistricting legislation that is so extremely irregular on its face that it rationally can be viewed only as an effort to segregate the races for purposes of voting, without regard for traditional districting principles and without sufficiently compelling justification” states a federal, constitutional claim under the Equal Protection Clause.
Popper will point out that District 3 is vulnerable to being legally challenged:
Turning to Congressional District 3 in the proposed plan, I believe it will be vulnerable to a serious—and probably a winning—Shaw-type claim under the Fourteenth Amendment. I understand that there will be little dispute that the district was drawn with its racial characteristics as the predominant consideration. I also understand that the shape of the district will be well-explained by the effort to include African-American populations around Tallahassee and Jacksonville. Moreover, the district clearly violates traditional districting criteria. Its Popper-Polsby score is 10%, and its Reock score is 11%. These are very low compactness scores for any U.S. congressional district, and in both cases these are the lowest compactness scores in the State of Florida.
For more than 25 years, Judicial Watch has been known for its aggressive, leading-edge use of public records laws and lawsuits, as well as taxpayer, civil rights and whistleblower protection litigation to fight government corruption. Judicial Watch is a national leader in voting integrity and voting rights. As part of this effort, Judicial Watch assembled a team of highly experienced voting rights attorneys who stopped discriminatory elections in Hawaii, and cleaned up voter rolls in California, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, among other achievements.
In December 2021, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of 12 registered Maryland voters who object to Maryland’s 2021 congressional redistricting plan on the grounds that it diminishes their rights to participate in elections for the U.S. Congress on an equal basis with other Maryland voters, in violation of the Maryland Constitution.
Recently, Judicial Watch announced it is settling its lawsuit against North Carolina and two of its counties after they removed over 430,000 ineligible names from the voter rolls.
Robert Popper joined Judicial Watch’s legal team as a senior attorney in 2013. Popper specializes in gerrymandering cases. In 1991, with Professor Daniel Polsby, Popper wrote an article describing a mathematical way to measure the geographic compactness of congressional districts. This standard is now known as the “Polsby/Popper” criterion and is one of the most widely used tests of district compactness. In 1997, Popper brought a lawsuit that ultimately led to New York’s 12th Congressional District being enjoined as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. In 2005, Popper joined the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked for eight years. In his time at DOJ, he managed voting rights investigations, litigations, consent decrees, and settlements in dozens of states.