Michelle Mabugat and Doug Mirell Author Amicus Curiae Brief in Landmark California Supreme Court Decision

September 1, 2023Press Release
Greenberg Glusker Announcement

On August 24, 2023, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in a case in which Greenberg Glusker attorneys Michelle Mabugat and Doug Mirell authored an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 22 political science scholars from across the country in support of the prevailing plaintiffs/respondents.

The Supreme Court’s opinion unanimously concluded that the Second District Court of Appeal “misconstrued” the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) in a case brought on behalf of Latino voters who challenged the at-large election system in the City of Santa Monica. 

In reversing the lower appellate court, the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs who have “established the existence of racially polarized voting in an at-large system need not prove that the protected class would constitute a majority – or, as the City proposes, a near majority – of a hypothetical single-member district.” Rather, in its first decision interpreting the CVRA, the Supreme Court found that establishing “‘dilution’ of a protected class’s ‘ability to elect candidates of its choice’” requires only “proof that, under some lawful alternative electoral system, the protected class would have the potential, on its own or with the help of crossover voters, to elect its preferred candidate.”

The case has now been remanded to the Court of Appeal for it to “evaluate the dilution element of the CVRA under this standard.”

The Cal. Supreme Court’s decision can be found here.