The Supreme Court SB 1070 ruling earlier this week stole all the headlines but there were two additional rulings that were significant.
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Maryland’s “No Representation Without Population Act,” which counts incarcerated people as residents of their legal home addresses for redistricting purposes. According to PrisonersOfTheCensus.org, the “2010 law was a major civil rights victory that ended the distortions in fair representation caused by using incarcerated persons to pad the population counts of districts containing prisons.”
Today’s decision in Fletcher v. Lamone constitutes the most significant court ruling to date on the factual and legal justification for states to reallocate incarcerated persons to their home residences for purposes of redistricting. The ruling upheld today noted that “the Act is intended to ‘correct for the distortional effects of the Census Bureau’s practice of counting prisoners as residents of their place of incarceration.’” It further noted that:
“These distortional effects stem from the fact that while the majority of the state’s prisoners come from African-American areas, the state’s prisons are located primarily in the majority white First and Sixth Districts. As a result, residents of districts with prisons are systematically ‘overrepresented’ compared to other districts.”
In a separate ruling also announced Monday the Supreme Court ruled juveniles can’t be locked up for life without parole.