USA v. Port Chester: Not over yet
Could the Port Chester voting rights case could be Supreme Court material? Edward Blum of the Washington-based Project on Fair Representation says it goes to the heart of recent disputes about how to draw local voting districts when a good portion of the population does not have U.S. citizenship. His organization is offering to pay for Port Chester’s appeal if the village contributes just $25,000.
Blum says: “Large influxes of noncitizens, mostly Hispanics, are prompting the Justice Department and others to challenge the form of governance that has been in place – in the case of Port Chester as I recall – for close to 140 years.”
My article about this issue is linked here.
Today, the parties in the case Ã¢â‚¬â€ the U.S. Department of Justice and former candidate Cesar Ruiz on one side, and the village on the other Ã¢â‚¬â€ are submitting their proposals on how to remedy the village’s voting rights violation. U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson has already ruled that the village is in violation of the Voting Rights Act because the local election system denies Hispanics full participation. He also agreed with arguments to create six districts, each represented by a village trustee. The village wants to keep its system of six trustees who serve at large.
Randolph McLaughlin, Ruiz’s attorney and a Pace University law professor, said the village’s citizen/noncitizen argument is extremist nonsense, and that it’s going nowhere. “That’s a fairy tale,” he said. “They want to turn voting rights litigation on its head.”