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Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

About Justin Levitt

Justin Levitt is Professor of Law and Gerald T. McLaughlin Fellow at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. (See Justin’s LLS faculty page and CV). As of April 2021 Professor Levitt is on leave from Loyola and serving as the White House Senior Policy Advisor for Democracy and Voting Rights. He previous served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Justin is a nationally recognized scholar of constitutional law and the law of democracy. He has published dozens of articles and essays, has testified before committees of the U.S. House and Senate, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, several state legislative bodies, and both federal and state courts. His research has been cited extensively in the media and the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Below is a summary of his work related to redistricting.

Books and articles

Nonsensus: Pretext and the Decennial Enumeration, 3 ACS Sup. Ct. Rev. 59 (2019).

Citizenship and the Census, 119 Colum. L. Rev. 1355 (2019).

Intent is Enough: Invidious Partisanship in Redistricting, 59 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1993 (2018).

Race, Redistricting, and the Manufactured Conundrum, 50 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. 555 (2017).

The Role of State Attorneys General in Federal and State Redistricting in 2020 (2017).

Quick and Dirty: The New Misreading of the Voting Rights Act, 43 Fl. St. U. L. Rev. 573 (2016).

LULAC v. Perry: The Frumious Gerry-Mander, Rampantin Election Law Stories (Foundation Press, 2016).

The Partisanship Spectrum, 55 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1787 (2014).

Section 5 as Simulacrum, 123 Yale L. J. Online 151 (2013).

Democracy on the High Wire: Citizen Commission Implementation of the Voting Rights Act, 46 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1041 (2013).

Novel (and Not-So-Novel) Alternatives to Legislative Redistricting, in America Votes! A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights (Ben Griffith ed., 2d ed. 2012).

Redistricting and the West: The Legal Context, in Reapportionment and Redistricting in the West (Gary F. Moncrief ed., 2011).

Weighing the Potential of Citizen Redistricting, 44 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. 515 (2011).

A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting (2d ed. 2010).

Taking the “Re” Out of Redistricting: State Constitutional Provisions on Redistricting Timing, 95 Geo. L.J. 1247 (2007) (with Michael McDonald).

A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting (1st ed. 2008).

Amicus, testimony, regulation

In re: Petition for Proposed Rule to Amend Wis. Stat. § 809.70, Comments from Election Law Scholars, Rules Petition 20-03 (Wis. S. Ct. 2020).

An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the US: An Update, U.S. Comm’n on Civil Rights (July 8, 2020) (written statement).

Congressional Authority to Protect Voting Rights After Shelby County v. Holder: Hearing Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, Subcomm. on Constitution, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, 116th Cong. (Sept. 24, 2019) (written statementvideo).

Amicus Brief, Prof. J. Morgan Kousser, Higginson v. Becerra, Case No. 19-55275 (9th Cir. Aug. 22, 2019).

Amicus Brief, John R. Dunne et al., Dept of Commerce v. New York, Case No. 18-966 (U.S. Apr. 1, 2019).

Amicus Brief, NAACP LDF et al., Rucho v. Common Cause / Lamone v. Benisek, Case Nos. 18-422, 18-726 (U.S. Mar. 8, 2019).

Pico Neighborhood Ass’n v. Santa Monica, No. BC616804 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles County Aug. 2018).

Comment on Proposed Information Collection, 2020 Census, U.S. Dep’t of Commerce (Aug. 7, 2018).

County of Los Angeles v. California, No. BS168212 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles County 2018)

Progress Report on the 2020 Census: Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Oversight & Government Reform (May 9, 2018) (written statementvideo).

Voting Rights in Indiana: Hearing Before the Indiana Advisory Comm. to the U.S. Comm’n on Civil Rights (Ind. Apr. 30, 2018) (written statement).

Hearing on H.J.R. 26 Before the H. State Affairs Comm., 30th Leg. (Alaska Feb. 20, 2018) (video)

An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the United States: Hearing Before the U.S. Comm’n on Civil Rights (Feb. 2, 2018) (statementsupplementvideo).

Hearing on Voting Rights Issues Before the S. State Gov’ t, Tribal Relations & Elections Comm. (Wash. Jan. 10, 2018) (written statement).

Amicus Brief, NAACP LDF et al., Gill v. Whitford, No. 16-1161 (U.S. Sept. 1, 2017).

Comment on Census Residence Rule and Residence Situations: People in Correctional Facilities, U.S. Census Bureau (July 20, 2015).

Hearing on Issues Involving Potential Litigation Over State Voting Rights Acts Before the S. Gov’tal Ops. Comm. & the L. & Justice Comm. (Wash. May 7, 2015).

Amicus Brief, Scholars and Historians of Congressional Redistricting, Ariz. State Legis. v. Ariz. Ind. Redistricting Comm’n, No. 13-1314 (U.S. Jan. 23, 2015).

Hearing Before the Dallas Charter Review Comm’n re Redistricting (Dallas Mar. 25, 2014) (agenda) (video).

From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Judiciary (July 17, 2013) (videostatement).
– Levitt, responses to questions for the record from Sen. FrankenSen. Grassley.
– Levitt, Compilation of DOJ-Logged Sec. 5 Activity After July 27, 2006 (34MB file).

Jauregui v. Palmdale, No. BC483039 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles County May 2013) (tentative opinion).

Redistricting and the 2010 Census: Enforcing Section 5 of the VRA: Hearing Before the U.S. Comm’n on Civil Rights (Feb. 3, 2012) (statement of Justin Levitt).

Report on the Legal Standards Pertaining to the Los Angeles County Redistricting Process: Hearing Before the L.A. County Board of Supervisors (L.A. County Aug. 9, 2011) (report) (video).

National Overview of Reapportionment and Redistricting: J. Meeting Assemb. Comm. Legis. Operations & Elections & S. Comm. Legis. Operations & Elections, 76th Reg. Sess. (Nev. Mar. 10, 2011) (presentation).

Communities of Interest: An Overview of the Law: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Redistricting & the H. Comm. on Redistricting (Ore. Feb. 25, 2011) (audio).

What is Redistricting? A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Redistricting & the H. Comm. on Redistricting (Ore. Feb. 4, 2011) (audio).

Hearing on H.B. 5914 Before the H. Judiciary Comm., 95th Leg.  (Mich. Apr. 13, 2010) (statement of Myrna Pérez & Justin Levitt).

Proposals for Changing the Current Redistricting Process in Illinois: Hearing Before the S. Redistricting Comm., 96th Leg. (Ill. Oct. 13, 2009) (statement of Justin Levitt).

Hearing Before the Census Data Advisory Committee, 116th Leg. (Ind. Sept. 29, 2009) (statement of Justin Levitt).

Redistricting: Hearing on A.624, A.2056, and A.6287-a Before Assemb. Standing Comm. on Gov’t Operations (N.Y. Oct. 17, 2006) (statement of Justin Levitt & Kahlil Williams).

Select appearances

Appearances in Eastpointe, Grace McNally (2020).

Appearances in Slay the Dragon, Participant Media (2019).

Appearances in Gerrymandering: A New Documentary Film, Green Film Company (2010).

SCOTUS Gerrymandering Decisions, FOX-13 Tampa (June 2019).

Divide and Conquer, KCET SoCal Connected (Oct. 2018).

Miles Parks, What’s The Next Step For Democrats, Following Ruling On Partisan Redistricting?, NPR (July 2019).

Nina Totenberg, Supreme Court Rules Partisan Gerrymandering Is Beyond The Reach Of Federal Courts, All Things Considered, NPR (June 2019).

The Gerrymandering Project: California, FiveThirtyEight Politics (Jan. 2018).

The Political Lines That Divide Us, Innovation Hub, WGBH (Oct. 2017).

The Political Thicket, More Perfect, RadioLab/WNYC (Sept. 2017).

Gerrymandering: America’s Most Dangerous Maps?, on NPR’s 1A program (Apr. 2017).

Panelist, Redistricting 101, Michigan Independent Citizens’ Redistricting Commission (Sept. 2020).

Presenter, Redistricting 101: Legal Concepts that Apply to the Work of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, Citizens Redistricting Comm’n, Zoom (Sept. 2020).

Panelist, Implications of the 2020 Census for Traditionally Marginalized Communities, AALS National Convention, Washington, DC  (Jan. 2020).

Panelist, Redistricting: What You Need to Know Before, During, and Following Census, City Clerks: New Law & Elections Seminar, League of California Cities, Garden Grove, CA (Dec. 2019).

Panelist, Redistricting and Related Legal Uses, Workshop on 2020 Census Data Products: Data Needs and Privacy Considerations, Committee on National Statistics, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC  (Dec. 2019).

Panelist, Judges’ Convening, ACS, UNLV School of Law, Las Vegas, NV (Nov. 2019).

Panelist, Census 2020: What’s Next, Reuters Newsmakers, New York, NY (Sept. 2019).

Presenter, Redistricting 101: Legal Concepts That Apply to the Work of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, Applicant Review Panel, Sacramento, CA (Aug. 2019).

Speaker, The Never Ending Election Cycle, National Association of Appellate Court Attorneys, San Diego, CA  (July 2019).

Speaker, Uses of 2020 Census Redistricting Data, Formal Privacy Methods for the 2020 Census, JASON Conference (June 2019).

Panelist, Fighting to be Counted: Census Litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court, ACS Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter, Los Angeles, CA  (June 2019).

Speaker, Citizenship and the Census, HLS ACS, HLS/HKS, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA (Apr. 2019).

Panelist, Undercounting Democracy: The Census and the Citizenship Question, UCLA Law School, Los Angeles, CA  (Feb. 2019).

Panelist, Voting Rights and Wrongs, Hammer Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA  (Jan. 2019).

Moderator, Fighting Gerrymandering with the First Amendment, Reason, Reform & Redistricting Conference, Duke University, Durham, NC (Jan. 2019).

Panelist, Significance of the Midterm Elections on Census and Redistricting, Counting for Democracy: Census and Redistricting, Washington, DC  (Dec. 2018).

Speaker, MGGG/LCCR Redistricting Workshop, Cambridge, MA  (Dec. 2018)

Panelist, Drawing the Lines of Political Districts: A Look Back at the Road Ahead2018 NBTA All-Stars Conference, New Orleans, LA (Nov. 2018).

Speaker, When Why Matters: Litigating Government Purpose, 2018 NBTA All-Stars Conference, New Orleans, LA (Nov. 2018).

Speaker, The Need for Redistricting Reform, U. Arizona Conference on Redistricting, Tucson, AZ (Oct. 2018).

Presenter, Intent is Enough: Invidious Partisanship in Redistricting, Southwestern Law School, Los Angeles, CA (Sept. 2018).

Panelist, Technology and Law in GerrymanderingGeometry of Redistricting Workshop, USF, San Francisco, CA (Mar. 2018).

Panelist, How Gerrymandering is Reshaping Politics, SxSW, Austin, TX (Mar. 2018).

Moderator, At Our Whit(ford)’s End With Gerrymandering?, Unrig the System Summit, New Orleans, LA (Feb. 2018).

Speaker, A Republic, If You Can Keep It: Construction and Maintenance of the FranchiseIn Defense of Voting Rights, Colloquium on the Constitution and the Imagining of America, Amherst College, Amherst, MA (Nov. 2017).

Panelist, Race and Redistricting 2021Redistricting Reform Conference at Harvard, Harvard Kennedy School / Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA (Nov. 2017).

Panelist, Gill v. Whitford, ACS/Federalist Society, Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 2017).

Speaker, Redistricting, Voting Rights, and the Law of Democracy, UCLA Law School, Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 2017).

Panelist, Voting Rights Institute, ACS 2017 National Convention, Washington, DC (June 2017).

Keynote Speaker, Legislatures, Courts and Voting Rights: Developments since the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder Decision, U. Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA (Apr. 2017).

Keynote Speaker, The Future of National Election and Political Reform Efforts, The Future of Democracy, Election Law@Boalt, Berkeley Law School, Berkeley, CA (Apr. 2017).

Panelist, The Supreme Court and 2020 Round, William & Mary Law Review 2020 Redistricting Symposium, William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA (Feb. 2017).

Panelist, Voting Rights Institute, ACS 2017 National Convention, Washington, DC (June 2016).

Keynote Speaker, Legislatures, Courts and Voting Rights: Developments since the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder Decision, U. Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA (Apr. 2017).

Panelist, The Supreme Court and 2020 Round, William & Mary Law Review 2020 Redistricting Symposium, William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA (Feb. 2017).

Panelist, Voting Rights and the Unfinished Business of Selma, Equal Justice Under Law: Celebrating the Legacy of Judge Constance Baker Motley, Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization, New York, NY (Sept. 2016).

Panelist, Voting Rights Institute, ACS 2016 National Convention, Washington, DC (June 2016).

Panelist, Ensuring Fair Elections 50 Years After the Voting Rights Act, U. Conn. School of Law, Hartford, CT (Nov. 2015).

Panelist, Quick and Dirty: The New Misreading of the Voting Rights Act, SoCLASS III: Regulation, Law, and Social Science, USC Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, CA (Mar. 2015).

Panelist, The Voting Rights Act — 50 Years Later, Southern District of California Judicial Conference: Is Justice Blind?, Temecula, CA (Mar. 2015).

Panelist, The Voting Rights Act at 50: The Past, Present, and Future of the Right to Vote, LSU Law Center, Baton Rouge, LA (Jan. 2015).

Presenter, U.S. Redistricting, in Texas and Beyond, Workshop Derecho Electoral Comparado, Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federacion, Mexico City, Mexico (Sept. 2014).

Panelist, The End of Political Gerrymandering?, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA (May 2014).

Presenter, Democracy Held Captive: Felon Voting Rights and Prison-Based Gerrymandering, 44th Annual Cal State Fullerton Philosophy Symposium, Rethinking Mass Incarceration: Gender, Race, and the Prison Industrial Complex, Cal. State University, Fullerton, CA (Apr. 2014).

Participant, Redistricting 2020: Preparing for Action, Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, DC (Dec. 2013).

Panelist, Shelby County v. Holder: Election Law’s Impact on the Asian Pacific American Community, U.C. Irvine School of Law, Irvine, CA (Nov. 2013).

Speaker, Exploring the Post-Shelby Voting Rights Act Framework, American Constitution Society, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 2013).

Speaker, The Future of Voting Rights after Shelby County v. Holder, Public Policy Lecture Series, Reed College, Portland, OR (Oct. 2013).

Speaker, Voting Rights After Shelby County v. Holder: What Now?, American Constitution Society, University of La Verne College of Law, La Verne, CA (Oct. 2013).

Speaker, Gerrymandering, Voter Suppression, and the Voting Rights Act, Rogers School of Law, Tucson, AZ (Mar. 2013).

Panelist, The Future of the Voting Rights Act, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT (Mar. 2013).

Speaker, The California Voting Rights Act, City of Anaheim, Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections and Community Involvement, Anaheim, CA (Dec. 2012) (video).

Panelist, Law and Democracy: A Symposium on the Law Governing Our Democratic Process, George Washington University School of Law, Washington, DC (Nov. 2012).

Panelist, Foxes, Henhouses, and Commissions: Assessing the Nonpartisan Model in Election Administration, Redistricting, and Campaign Finance, U.C. Irvine School of Law, Irvine, CA (Sept. 2012).

Panelist, Redistricting Litigation, Federalist Society Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast (Apr. 2012).

Presenter, Municipal Redistricting and Minority Representation: Democracy Outside the Box, The Politics of Race and Place Workshop, U.C. San Diego (Feb. 2012).

Panelist, A Brave New World? California’s Redistricting Experiment, Institute of Governmental Studies, U.C. Berkeley, Berkeley, CA (Sept. 2011).

Panelist, Redistricting Roundtable: Law and Politics in the New Decade, 2011 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA (Sept. 2011).

Speaker, Reapportionment and Redistricting in Idaho and the West, Boise State University, Boise, ID (Apr. 2011).

Speaker, Redistricting 101: What You Need to Know to Get Involved, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ (Apr. 2011).

Presenter, Getting a Seat at the Table: What Nonprofits Should Know about Redistricting, NonprofitVOTE Webinar, Los Angeles, CA (Mar. 2011).

Panelist, Breaking Ground: The ABCs of Redistricting, Redistricting CA 2011 Conference, Los Angeles, CA (Jan. 2011).

Panelist, Partisan Gerrymandering: The Legal Limitations and Lack Thereof, NCSL National Redistricting Seminar, National Harbor, MD (Jan. 2011).

Kickoff Speaker, Redistricting Basics and Terminology, NCSL National Redistricting Seminar, National Harbor, MD (Jan. 2011).

Speaker, Redistricting 101: Legal Concepts That Apply to the Work of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, California State Auditor, Sacramento, CA (Dec. 2010).

Panelist, Redistricting Decisions of the Last Decade, NCSL National Redistricting Seminar, Providence, RI (Sept. 2010).

Symposium Participant, The Potential of Citizen Redistricting, Rebooting California, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA (Sept. 2010).

Speaker, Redistricting – What You Need to Know to Be Effective in 2011, League of Women Voters of the United States, 49th National Convention, Atlanta, GA (June 2010) (with Myrna Pérez).

Speaker, Redistricting 101, Midwest Democracy Network, Columbus, OH (Mar. 2010).

Speaker, Redistricti ng 101:Legal Concepts That Apply to the Work of California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, California State Auditor, Applicant Review Panel, Sacramento, CA (Feb. 2010).

Speaker, Redistricting 101, Midwest Democracy Network, Chicago, IL (Feb. 2010) (with Virginia Martinez).

Speaker, Redistricting 101, League of Women Voters of Illinois Annual Issues Briefing, Chicago, IL (Feb. 2010).

Panelist, The State Legislature and the State Constitution, Focus on the Legislature: Reform and Renewal, New York State Bar Association, Comm. on Attorneys in Public Service, New York, NY (Jan. 2010).

Speaker, Redistricting: Embracing Lines in the Public Interest, Women in Government, 16th Annual State Directors’ Conference, Dana Point, CA (Jan. 2010).

Panelist, Redistricting, League of Women Voters of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN (Dec. 2009).

Panelist, Redistricting in California, Redistricting California conference, Los Angeles, CA (Dec. 2009).

Speaker, Hot Voting Rights Topics for Municipalities: Pre-litigation Use of Alternative Voting Systems and Redistricting Consequences of Incarceration, International Municipal Lawyers Association, Columbia, SC (Dec. 2009).

Speaker, Redistricting 101-An Overview and a Timeline for Success, National Conference of State Legislatures, Chicago, IL (Oct. 2009).

Speaker, Redistricting 101, Midwest Democracy Network, Chicago, IL (Oct. 2009).

Speaker, Census 2010: Be Counted, Be Heard, National Latino/a Law Students’ Conference, Chicago, IL (Sept. 2009).

Plenary Speaker, Drawing the Lines: The 2010 Census and You, Western States Center, Community Strategic Training Initiative, Portland, OR (Aug. 2009).

Speaker, Representation for the Next Decade: The 2010 Census and Redistricting, Western States Center, Community Strategic Training Initiative, Portland, OR (Aug. 2009).

Speaker,Redistricting and the Census, National Civic Summit, Minneapolis, MN (July 2009).

Panelist, Communities of Interest, National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington, DC (Apr. 2008).

Opinion

Democrats Wrong to Pivot on Redistricting, Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 19, 2020.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Legislative Expectations, Election Law Blog, July 4, 2019.

Makes No Census, LMU Magazine, Spring 2019.

Clarity of the Record Should Bring Clarity of Purpose, SCOTUSBlog, Feb. 11, 2019.

The Civil Rights Division Bails Out of Bail-In in Texas, Take Care Blog, Feb. 8, 2019.

The Stakes in November, KCET, Oct. 23, 2018.

Gerrymandering, the High Court and the Way(s) Forward, Daily J., July 2, 2018.

The Fight to End Partisan Gerrymandering is Far From Over, Wash. Post, June 19, 2018.

This Week’s Blockbuster SCOTUS Cases Share a Troublesome Common Issue, Take Care Blog, Apr. 24, 2018.

How Trump’s Citizenship Question May Hurt the G.O.P., N.Y. Times, Apr. 3, 2018.

The Party Line: Gerrymandering at the Supreme Court, 30 Cal. Litigator 10 (2017).

Intent is Enough, SCOTUSblog, Aug. 9, 2017.

High Court Elections Clause Case Is A Sleeper Sequel, Daily Journal, Oct. 6, 2014.

Shadowboxing and Unintended Consequences, SCOTUSblog, June 25, 2013.

Bringing Sweats to the Court, ACSblog, Feb. 26, 2013.

Cuomo’s Leverage Opens Door to a Deal on Redistricting, Buffalo News, Mar. 2, 2012.

Supreme Court Messes With Texas, Voting Rights, Miller-McCune, Jan. 9, 2012.

Ten Lawyers Leaping: A New Year’s Redistricting Review, Huffington Post, Jan. 3, 2012.

Contribution in The Texas Redistricting Cases, SCOTUSblog Community, Jan. 3, 2012.

Contribution in Opening the Redistricting Process to Citizens, ESRI spatial roundtable, Jan. 19, 2011.

The Big Redistricting Story of 2011: ‘We, the People’, Summary Judgments blog, Dec. 14, 2010.

What Tuesday Means for Redistricting, Election Law blog, Nov. 3, 2010.

A Bill to Shed Light on Redistricting, Brennan Center blog, Mar. 25, 2010 (with Garima Malhotra).

Karl Rove Is Right About Importance of Local Elections, Roll Call, Mar. 23, 2010.

Redistricting: Keeping California from Reaching #1?, Brennan Center blog, Mar. 4, 2010.

Count This As a Big Step Forward, Brennan Center blog, Feb. 12, 2010.

Redistricting Reform, for the Right Reasons, Brennan Center blog, Nov. 12, 2009.

Drawing the Lines in Ohio: A Big Step Forward, Brennan Center blog, June 24, 2009.

Drawing the Lines in Ohio: The Structure of the Competition, Brennan Center blog, June 22, 2009.

Drawing the Lines in Ohio: The Devilish Details, Brennan Center blog, June 21, 2009.

Re-redrawing the Lines, The Hill, June 29, 2006 (with Lisa Sandoval).