Supervising Attorney Yael Bromberg, Esq., and Clinic students filed a motion and accompanying amicus brief arguing that the Texas vote-by-mail law is discriminatory. It includes data on the impact on young voters overall and the increased stratification among minority youth voters who are ineligible to vote by mail due to their age. While numerous parties served as amici during previous phases of the litigation amid the 2020 Presidential Election, the amicus brief serves as the only amici voice during the present phase of litigation. The brief was filed with the support of local counsel Jared G. LeBlanc, of LeBlanc Flanery PLLC.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF), (MFOL), and (NVAHI) filed in Cascino v. Scott before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case, originally brought in 2020 in emergency litigation related to the pandemic election, challenges a law that requires young Americans to satisfy a limited set of statutory excuses to qualify to vote by mail, while making vote-by-mail automatically available to voters over the age of 65 who do not need to offer any excuses.
“The law in place in Texas, and six other states in the nation, unequivocally violates the Twenty-Sixth Amendment by allowing regular voting methods to be provided to one set of voters, while — simply on account of age — another set of voters is left without,” explains Bromberg (RLAW 2011), AGF’s Special Counsel & Strategic Advisor to the President and CEO. “Age discrimination in voting-by-mail untowardly impacts the rise of youth voters and minority youth in particular, given emerging voting patterns and the changing demographics of Texas and the nation.”
70% of young voters cast their ballots early or by mail. Additionally, research indicates that expansive vote-by-mail policies lead to increased voter turnout, particularly among young voters and voters of color, as further detailed within the amicus brief.
“My contribution for the brief was the racial impact section and to provide assistance and research to formatting standards in the 5th circuit,” said third-year Clinic student Kenneth Saint Preux. “I am so proud that my contribution (in combination with all my clinic members) helped create this amicus brief. This brief will definitely be one of my major achievements as a student of law at Rutgers University at Newark!”
Directed by Rutgers Law Professor Penny Venetis, IHRC is a pioneer in using international human rights law in courts throughout the United States. Students enrolled in the Clinic challenge and change unjust laws by representing individuals whose rights have been violated, and through the legislative process. Students learn two areas of substantive law: constitutional law and international human rights law; both are used in their advocacy. Clinic students are engaged in all levels of advocacy: from interviewing clients, drafting court pleadings, and engaging in the discovery process to writing briefs, oral advocacy, and trial work.
“Working on an amicus brief as a law student has been a valuable experience not only in enhancing my technical skills as a lawyer, but also in teaching me to advocate within the law for the protection of our constitutional right,” said second-year student Lucy Sprague. “The constitutional right to vote is fundamental to democracy, and it was a privilege advocating that the right be free from age discrimination in the context of restrictive vote by mail policies.”
“It is imperative that young voters have the information and resources they need to vote by mail effectively,” said Charles Imohiosen, Esq., President and CEO of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “In October 2022, The Andrew Goodman Foundation launched Student Vote Choice, a national campaign to promote student voter accessibility to vote in person or by mail and to ensure that these ballots are counted. Together, AGF and our partner organizations will bring polling places, as well as educational resources about voting by mail, to campuses ahead of the 2023 local and 2024 Presidential Elections.”