Aug 05, 2021  
2020 - 2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020 - 2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

LAW 502 - Legislative Redistricting w/Geographic Information Systems


Fall Credits: 1 Rebecca Green

With the 2020 Census on the near horizon, significant attention will be placed on redistricting in the coming years. Inherent in any redistricting plan is a recognition of the spatial configuration of voting districts and the processes driving proposed voting district maps. Federal and state constitutions and statutes impose legal requirements for voting districts that in practice are often manipulated to favor of drawing lines that protect partisan/incumbent interests. This one-credit course will combine an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with a focus on the legal analysis of redistricting plans. Students will learn basic GIS skills and tools designed to develop compliant maps. This will include working with district boundary maps, census information and other socioeconomic layers in an integrated GIS platform to understand and quantify the impacts realized when voting districts are redrawn. The course will focus on the 2017 Supreme Court case Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections decision as a frame to better understand the laws governing redistricting efforts. After learning the legal parameters of the redistricting process, students will work in teams to develop and present a redistricting plan for the 12 state legislative districts identified as problematic in Bethune-Hill. In the process of coming up with ways to improve compliance with state and federal statutory and constitutional mandates, this course will uniquely prepare students to play a substantive part in the 2020 round. This course will be graded pass/fail.