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. Litigation on the merits of the map is ongoing.