State of North Dakota

North Dakota Legislative Redistricting Challenge (Walen)

Walen v. Burgum

Lawsuit filed by two voters challenging North Dakota’s new legislative districts drawn with 2020 census data. The complaint alleges that certain districts are racial gerrymanders that violate the 14th Amendment because race was used as the predominant factor in line drawing without any compelling state interest. The plaintiffs specifically challenge districts that encompass two Native American reservations, which proponents state will give more representation to Native American communities. The plaintiffs argue that these districts were created “solely on the basis of race” under the guise of complying with the Voting Rights Act, but the state did not conduct adequate analysis of racial voting patterns to justify this. The court declined to block the map for the 2022 elections. The plaintiffs’ appealed the district court’s order denying their motion for a preliminary injunction to the U.S. Supreme Court, but agreed to dismiss their appeal on July 25, 2022. On Nov. 2, 2023, a three-judge panel held that the challenged districts are not racial gerrymanders and dismissed the lawsuit. On Jan. 2, 2024, the plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 10, the Court issued an order inviting the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of the United States in this case.

STATUS: Plaintiffs appealed the district court’s dismissal of the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Litigation is ongoing.

Case Documents (District Court)

Case Documents (U.S. Supreme Court)

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