10th Circuit upholds San Juan County race-and-redistricting decision

San Juan County, Utah, has had a long history of trouble, over several decades, with respect to providing equal opportunities for the Navajo community, including in voting. Today, the 10th Circuit affirmed a lower court opinion redrawing the district lines of the county commission and school board to provide opportunity for the Navajo community. Opinion here.

For those keeping track, it’s 2019. The fight over these district lines began in 2011. Section 2 of the VRA is powerful … but also sloooooooooow. That’s part of why it’s so important to restore an alternative to responsive litigation under the VRA for jurisdictions that seem to keep having repeated difficulties.

(Disclosure: one of the claims in this case was that the county had to do what it did because of a 1984 consent decree with the DOJ. Both the trial court and court of appeals rejected that assertion. I was serving at the DOJ while part of this litigation was proceeding.)

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