Supporting Boston’s New City Council District Map

Voting Rights

Civil Rights Groups File Brief in Federal Court Supporting Boston’s New City Council District Map

Amicus Brief Reclaims the Civil Rights Mantle

Seven community-based civil rights groups filed an amicus brief in the federal court case brought by opponents to the new Boston City Council district map. The brief, supporting the City’s new map, was filed on behalf of the following groups that took part in the 2022 redistricting process: the NAACP Boston BranchMassVOTEthe Massachusetts Voter Tablethe Chinese Progressive AssociationLa Colaborativathe Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and New England United for Justice.  Attorneys from Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) and K&L Gates LLP filed the brief on behalf of the amicus groups.

The Boston City Council redistricting process plays a critical role in local governance and community representation.  It not only determines the political choices available to voters at the local level, but, when done correctly, creates voting districts that accurately reflect population changes and socio-cultural diversity.  This helps communities secure meaningful representation by candidates who understand and respond to their needs. 

The amicus groups actively participated in the 2020 Census and the subsequent 2022 redistricting process to connect residents to the democratic institutions that, in many places, have long failed to reflect or represent them. This work is key to addressing political and social exclusion that has compounded over generations. The consequences of that exclusion manifest daily, especially in access to constituent services: which potholes get filled, what parks get upgrades, and how limited municipal resources are allocated in general.  

The brief makes clear – based on amici’s first-hand experience – that the City Council’s process was open, fair, and produced a map founded on traditional redistricting principles. 

Those challenging the map would tell a different narrative.  Attempting to portray themselves as civil rights defenders, the redistricting challengers claim that the process silenced and discriminated against minority communities in violation of federal law.  But as the amicus brief outlines, the challengers have failed to present any meaningful or relevant evidence to support those claims. 

The amicus groups champion the rights of Boston’s diverse communities and, having participated in the redistricting process, they are uniquely positioned to set the record straight.  That is exactly what they are doing in this brief – reclaiming the civil rights mantle and repudiating the challengers’ narrative that the map violates federal law. 

“This lawsuit represents little more than an attempt by disgruntled challengers to supplant the democratic process and impose their preferred policy outcome on the public, including the communities of color overwhelmingly supporting the Boston City Council map,” said Jacob Love, an LCR attorney representing the community organizations. 

LCR protects the voting rights of people of color and other traditionally disenfranchised groups.  We constantly monitor redistricting at the federal, state, and local level to ensure that the process remains equitable, transparent, and community-driven. Our representation of the amici in this case is part of this continuous effort. 

K&L Gates LLP is providing pro bono legal support to the community organizations.

The case is O’Shea et al. v. Boston City Council, No.: 22-CV-12048 (D. Mass.).

The amicus brief is available here: