FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2015
CONTACT: Sam Mahood
SACRAMENTO – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla issued the following statement on the Evenwel v. Abbott case currently before the United States Supreme Court.
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Evenwel v. Abbott, a case that could dramatically alter long-held and fundamental notions of equal representation and could result in the significant erosion of the civil rights for entire communities.
At a time when cultural and economic realities have widened the gulf between haves and have-nots, the proposed change to the method used to draw legislative district lines advocated by the Texas plaintiffs—which uses eligible voters rather than total population—threatens to widen the rift even further.
As our country faces new challenges that require bridging gaps of understanding and inequality, I am concerned that the Supreme Court would accept the plaintiffs’ invitation to drive deep wedges in our society through the express exclusion of vital members of our communities.
These efforts would devalue and ignore millions of Californians by creating districts that could vary in size by tens of thousands of persons or more, resulting in critical resources being unfairly allocated to districts with significantly smaller populations. Changing the rules for drawing legislative districts sends a message that conveys in no uncertain terms that eligible, but unregistered citizens don’t matter; and it sends a message to many immigrants in this country, that they are unwelcome.
The politics of exclusion have no place in America. I firmly believe that in our representative democracy everyone matters and everyone should count. I will continue to work towards an inclusive California that values each person equally and that protects and preserves the civil rights of all.
I urge that the United States Supreme Court elevate the values of our American democracy and emphatically reject the plaintiffs’ attempt to disregard them.