Latinas are Closely Watching the Supreme Court
Supreme Court hears arguments in two cases with potentially huge impacts on Latinas.
Washington, D.C. — This week is a big one for Latinos at the Supreme Court. The nine justices will hear oral arguments in Evenwel v. Abbott, a case about voting districting, and in Fisher v. Texas, addressing the affirmative action program at the University of Texas. These cases tackle two very different legal issues, both of which could have significant reverberating impacts in our communities.
Today the Court hears arguments about the process used to determine state voting district populations. The plaintiff, Ms. Evenwel, argues that the historic “one person, one vote” structure, which determines representation based on total population, is improper. If the Court sides with Ms. Evenwel, thousands of people would go uncounted in districting schemes, including children and non-citizen immigrants. A ruling of this kind would upend a foundational notion of democracy – the theory that everyone deserves representation.
On Wednesday, the Court will turn to Fisher. This is the second time the Court has considered this case, which questions the permissibility of the University of Texas’ “Top 10% Plan” – a program the higher education institution initiated as a means of ensuring campus diversity. Here the Court has the potential to end or strongly discourage university affirmative action programs that protect against discriminatory admissions practices to ensure educational opportunities for racial minorities.
Executive Director Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas had this to say about the coming week at the nation’s highest court:
“Representation and educational equity are enormously important to ensuring that Latino communities have social and political power. We recognize that both of these cases are concerted efforts, through different political avenues, to weaken the growing power of minority and immigrant communities, and to maintain the status quo. Achieving the American Dream requires that our communities of color have representation in all spaces, from the college classroom to our state legislatures. The eyes of Latinos and Latinas are on the Supreme Court this week. We hope the justices will defend our understandings of democratic representation and the institution of affirmative action to ensure our voices continue to be heard.”
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.