Today, the Colorado Latino Forum (CLF) and Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA) filed a motion to intervene in the redistricting lawsuits currently pending in Denver District Court. Their goal in becoming involved in these suits is to advocate for Colorado congressional districts that offer Latinos fair electoral opportunities and preserve Latino communities of interest to prevent dilution of Latino voting strength. CLF and CHBA are represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF) and Faegre & Benson LLP, a leading international law firm with offices in Denver and Boulder.
The General Assembly failed to adopt a congressional redistricting plan during the 2011 legislative session. As a result, several individuals filed suit asking the court to draw the congressional redistricting plan. The court must consider the needs of many diverse communities when evaluating proposed redistricting plans, and the CLF and CHBA will advocate for protection of Colorado's Latinos, who have been historically underrepresented. The lawsuit seeks to protect the electoral rights of Latinos statewide, including in the Denver metropolitan area, Morgan and Weld counties and southern Colorado from Pueblo to the San Luis Valley.
Regina Rodriguez, a partner with Faegre & Benson, stated, "This is a critical time and we are, as a firm, proud to partner with MALDEF as co-counsel and CLF and CHBA as representatives of the Latino community, to be able to bring to bear the resources to ensure that the Latino community's voice is heard and not overlooked in this process."
Olivia Mendoza, Executive Director of the CLF, stated, "This is a critical moment in time, to ensure the Latino community is not disenfranchised through our electoral process and truly has a voice in the election of candidates."
Diego Hunt, President of the CHBA, stated, "Latinos comprise an ever-growing segment of the state's population, accounting for over 41% of Colorado's overall growth in the last ten years. We must ensure that we are properly regarded as important communities of interest in the redistricting process."
"The General Assembly failed to enact a new congressional map, and now we have turned to the courts," stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation. "Latinos in Colorado have filed to enter this case to ensure that the state's Latino population has a voice in congressional elections over the next ten years."
The CLF and the CHBA intervened in cases Moreno v. Gessler and Hall v. Gessler, both pending before the District Court of the City and County of Denver.