In front of a capacity crowd, Jeff Wice spoke Monday morning at the National Conference of State Legislatures on a panel regarding voting rights. Titled “Shelby County v. Holder: The Future of the Voting Rights Act,” Mr. Wice discussed the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision and how it affects state legislators and activists going forward. Prior to the ruling, legislatures in many southern states required pre-clearance from the federal Department of Justice in order to make any changes to voting procedures. However, the Court struck down this requirement, and many of the affected states are poised to begin changing their voting laws.
Despite many state legislators and activists alike taking an interest in the subject, he told Politico after the panel that “It’s a quiet before the storm period, and it’s hard to tell when the storm is going to hit. No one expects Congress to act, and there’s also a wait–and–see approach to see how far think tanks and legal defense organizations go to bring lawsuits to expand [VRA] challenges.”
Read the full article from Politico, with a more complete write-up of the panel, here.
On March 14, 2013, Jeff Wice will moderate a panel on the possible effects of the decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The panel is presented jointly by the New York Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society and LatinoJustice PRLDEF. Mr. Wice will moderate a panel consisting of Leah Aden ,Assistant Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Juan Cartagena, President of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and Myrna Pérez, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice.
At issue in Shelby County v. Holder – which has been argued before the Supreme Court, but not yet decided – was the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The panel will discuss how the case made its way to the Supreme Court, as well as the potential ramifications of the Supreme Court striking down the statute.
Jeffrey M. Wice, of counsel to SRYL, has coauthored an article in the newest Election Law Journal (Volume 2, Number 4). “Court Deference to State Legislatures in Redistricting After Perry v. Perez” analyzes the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Perry v. Perez in the context of competing precedents, surveys post-Perry redistricting cases, and considers Perry’s implications for the future. The article provides a framework for issues to be considered when state legislatures (and other redistricting authorities) fail to redistrict or when courts are faced with redrawing redistricting plans found to violate federal, state or local law.
Jeff Wice was featured in an article in Newsday about a Fair Redistricting Initiative in Brookhaven, NY. For the first time, districts for the Brookhaven Town Council is using a bipartisan redistricting commission consisting of three registered Democrats, three registered Republicans, and two non-partisans to re-draw districts for Brookhaven’s Town Council seats. The council is the first of its kind to be utilized at the local level in New York state.
Mr. Wice is serving the commission as a general counsel, which begins hearings on the redistricting process next week: “We’ve seen what hasn’t worked so far,” Wice said of this census cycle’s other redistricting efforts. “This might be an exception.”
Jeff Wice was recently featured on the National Journal’s “Expert Blogs.” Mr. Wice was one of seven national experts who responded to a question asking, what matters more in redistricting: the GOP’s edge in statehouse control or a Democratic Department of Justice. Mr. Wice responded that he believes it is too early to tell. He wrote, “[w]e’ve already seen Republican efforts to ‘pack’ minority residents fall short in New Jersey’s commission-based redistricting,” but also noted that “[i]n Virginia’s divided control legislature, Democrats and Republicans created plans designed to improve both majorities only to end up with a Governor’s veto.” Mr. Wice’s entire response can be viewed here.
In cooperation with the National Conference on State Legislators, Jeff Wice presented a media seminar, entitled “How Redistricting Works: the Nuts and Bolts for Reporters.” The seminar, held on January 25th, was designed to provide journalists a better understanding of the often complex process of redrawing congressional and state legislative boundaries. Jeff discussed the different techniques and software utilized by state legislatures’ and redistricting commissions, explained the use of census data in redrawing districts and provided an overview of the basic laws affecting the redistricting process.
Jeff will also be a featured speaker on several panels at the forthcoming national convention of the National Democratic Law Students Association.
Sandler Reiff and Young, P.C. is pleased to announce that Jeffrey M. Wice has joined the firm as “of counsel” to provide redistricting assistance to congressional, state legislative and local government officials, and other organizations with a stake in the post-2010 linedrawing process.
Mr. Wice has over 30 years of experience in redistricting, voting rights and census law. He pioneered national Democratic Party redistricting assistance to the states and has worked as redistricting counsel to the Democratic National Committee, national redistricting projects, and to many state legislative leaders, governmental entities, and elected officials. He is experienced in all aspects of redistricting activity, from developing state legislative committees and criteria through legislative enactments and litigation.
The new round of redistricting presents particular challenges with one person/one vote equal population standards and new interpretations of the federal Voting Rights Act. Sandler, Reiff & Young P.C.’s attorneys have extensive experience working with legislative leaderships and redistricting committees in these and other aspects of redistricting law.
Read a copy of Mr. Wice’s firm biographybelow:
Jeffrey M. Wice, “of counsel” to Sandler, Reiff & Young P.C,. has over 30 years of experience working in redistricting, voting rights and census law. He is considered a national expert on redistricting and has been included by ROLL CALL in its list of the top 50 Washington policy insiders. Mr. Wice also appears in the 2010 documentary movie “Gerrymandering.”
Mr. Wice has assisted many state legislative leaders, Members of Congress, and other state and local government officials on redistricting and voting rights matters across the nation. During the 1980s, Mr. Wice developed the first national Democratic Party redistricting assistance program, working with state legislative leaders preparing for the 1990 census and redistricting process. During the 1990s, Mr. Wice served as a counsel to the President’s appointees to the 2000 federal Census Monitoring Board. During the 2000 redistricting cycle. Mr. Wice served as counsel to the Democratic National Committee’s Redistricting Project. He also represented the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus in its successful in its federal court effort to ensure minority voting rights under the Voting Rights Act. As the Democratic Party prepares for the 2010 census and subsequent redistricting, Mr. Wice serves as counsel to the Foundation For The Future, the party’s redistricting planning project.
Mr. Wice has been a contributor to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) “Redistricting Law Handbook” for the 1990, 2000, and 2010 editions. As a long time counsel to the New York State Legislature. Mr. Wice has served in several NCSL leadership positions, including service on the national Executive Committee and as a staff chair of the Elections and Redistricting Committee.
He is a Special Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School where he teaches election law. In the past, he has also taught election law at Touro Law School. Mr. Wice has submitted several redistricting and voting rights related amicus briefs in U.S. Supreme Court cases, including the landmark case Shaw v. Reno and most recently in Bartlett v. Strickland.
Mr. Wice holds a B.A. from The George Washington University (1974) and a J.D. from the Antioch Law School (1982). He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and has been admitted to practice the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia and the United States Supreme Court.