SCSJ Files Amicus Brief for Virginia NAACP

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed this Brief of Amicus Curiae Virginia State Conference of the NAACP in the US Supreme Court.  The Court is considering a case which will determine whether voting rights plaintiffs in statewide redistricting cases have the right to a three-judge court to hear their claims.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a single judge could dismiss a constitutional challenge to a statewide redistricting plan.  We argue that the Fourth Circuit should follow every other circuit and agree to appoint three-judge panels in every such case.
As friend of the court, the Virginia NAACP pointed out that “The shortcomings of single-judge determinations, and the need for protection at the procedural-motion stage, are apparent in the recent dispositions of cases in which a three-judge court has been requested in the Fourth Circuit. Since 2010, a three-judge court has been requested in ten voting rights cases in the Fourth Circuit. In four of those ten cases, the request for a three-judge court was denied. In three of the four cases in which a three-judge court was denied, the case was subsequently dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) by a single judge. By permitting a single judge to dispose of voting rights cases where the parties are statutorily entitled to resolution by a three-judge court, the Fourth Circuit is failing to protect voting rights litigants and to provide them the benefits Congress intended in enacting the Three-Judge Court Act.”
The Virginia NAACP itself was recently denied the right to intervene in a congressional redistricting case by a single judge who just days earlier had allowed other parties to intervene in the case.