Issue Update News

Statements by Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, on Supreme Court’s Democracy Rulings

June 27, 2019

Statement on Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek:

“The Court’s rulings today upend our democratic principles by allowing party politics to determine the outcomes of our elections. Extreme partisan gerrymandering has infected our electoral process for far too long. Exercise of the franchise, which many fought and even died for, must not be reduced to a political charade in which the outcomes are predetermined. In America, voters should choose their representatives instead of representatives choosing their voters.

The Court should have halted this unconstitutional conduct, but it did not. This is a dereliction of duty in protecting our democracy. In racially polarized environments like North Carolina where racial block voting is standard, today’s decision will license policymakers to mask racial intent as partisan gerrymandering in order to suppress votes and prevent communities from fully participating in democracy to elect candidates of their choice.

We are entitled to fair maps and fair representation in every state. We call upon elected officials everywhere – as well as state courts – to reject partisanship and insist on fair redistricting so that everyone can have a voice.”

Statement on Department of Commerce v. New York:

“We welcome today’s ruling to remand to the Commerce Department the Trump administration’s fraudulent efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Through various means, the Trump administration is deliberately seeking to undercount communities of color in the 2020 Census, a ploy designed to increase the political power of whites at the expense of already underrepresented communities. Weakening the political representation of communities of color has been a stain on our democracy since its founding. The Three-Fifths Compromise of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 counted enslaved black people as three-fifths of a person in apportioning congressional districts. Since that time, the Census has severely undercounted the communities of color.

The Court today rejected the Trump administration’s fraudulent justification for adding the citizenship question. The highest court in the land – in an opinion authored by a Chief Justice appointed by a Republican President – has effectively ruled that the head of one federal government agency (the Department of Commerce) lied to the nation, aided and abetted by the head of another federal agency (the Department of Justice). We agree wholeheartedly with the Court’s conclusion that the decision to add the citizenship question was not made for the reasons put forth by Secretary Ross. Rather, it was a bald-faced effort to benefit one race and one political party at the expense of some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities. This astounding truth can no longer be swept under the rug. It is there for all to see.

Now, justice must be done. And everyone must be counted. The strength of our democracy depends on it.”

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The two Supreme Court decisions today show that our advocacy is more important than ever. NAACP is mobilizing supporters across the country to fight for policies that improve our communities.  Click the button below to learn more about how you can join our fight.

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