The Yale Law Journal Forum
Moon Duchin & Douglas M. Spencer, Response, Models, Race, and the Law, 130 Yale L.J. F. 744 (2021), https://www.yalelawjournal.org/forum/models-race-and-the-law, available at https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/articles/1392/.
Capitalizing on recent advances in algorithmic sampling, The Race-Blind Future of Voting Rights explores the implications of the long-standing conservative dream of certified race neutrality in redistricting. Computers seem promising because they are excellent at not taking race into account—but computers only do what you tell them to do, and the rest of the authors’ apparatus for measuring minority electoral opportunity failed every check of robustness and numerical stability that we applied. How many opportunity districts are there in the current Texas state House plan? Their methods can give any answer from thirty-four to fifty-one, depending on invisible settings. But if we focus only on major technical flaws, we might miss the fundamental fact that race-blind districting would devastate minority political opportunity no matter how it is deployed, just due to the mathematics of single-member districts. In the end, the Article develops an extreme interpretation of a dubious idea proposed by Judge Easterbrook through an empirical study that is unsupported by the methods.
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