The Supreme Court has denied Guam’s petition for certiorari, in Davis v. Guam, bringing a successful close to CIR’s nine-year fight to overturn the territory’s racially restrictive plebiscite law. With this order, CIR’s recent Ninth Circuit victory will stand in its entirety, and Guam will not be allowed to conduct a vote that discriminates on the basis of race.
In July, lead counsel Gibson Dunn’s Luke Townsend won a major victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging a plebiscite law designed to shape the future of Guam’s political status. The court rightly ruled that Guam’s law violated the Fifteenth Amendment’s prohibition on racially restrictive voting laws because it limited the vote to “Native Inhabitants,” a term that was carefully designed to reach only members of the Chamorro racial group.
Guam petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit decision (petition for certiorari). Denial of certiorari marks the end of the appeals process. CIR’s victory in the Ninth Circuit will serve as an important Fifteenth Amendment precedent going forward, ensuring that race will be kept out of elections, in Guam and on the mainland.