Judge Warren W. Eginton wrote in an opinion February 19 denying Connecticut's motion to dismiss a case filed by the NAACP. The lawsuit is the first in the nation to take on a statewide practice of counting incarcerated people as residents of the legislative districts where they are held, rather than in their home districts. This practice is known as “prison gerrymandering.”
The “ruling is a step towards securing that constitutional right for the people of Connecticut, in a case that will matter for all states that continue to engage in this unconstitutional practice,” said NAACP General Counsel Bradford M. Berry. The case will now proceed to discovery and potentially to trial.
The complaint alleges that prison gerrymandering violates Connecticut residents’ constitutional rights to one person, one vote by inflating the power of predominantly White rural districts, where many prisons are located, to the detriment of urban districts, where many incarcerated persons maintain a permanent residence.