Ruth Greenwood

Lecturer on Law

2020-2021

Biography

Ruth Greenwood is a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and is the Co-Director of Voting Rights and Redistricting at the Campaign Legal Center. Ruth is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has been working in voting rights for over ten years. Ruth litigates a variety of redistricting cases, with a particular focus on ending partisan gerrymandering and promoting minority representation. Ruth litigated two partisan gerrymandering cases from the trial level to the Supreme Court of the United States (Whitford v. Gill and LWVNC v. Rucho), and has advised dozens of states on how to draft and implement independent redistricting commissions.

Ruth was previously the Lead Counsel for Voting Rights at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and prior to that a Redistricting Fellow with the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute. She received her Masters in Law from Columbia Law School in 2009 and her undergraduate law and science degrees from the University of Sydney in 2005 and 2003.

Ruth was a 2016 Chicago Civic Leadership Academy Fellow and was awarded an Exceptional Service Award by the Chicago Board of Elections’ in 2014 for her work on Chicago Democracy Week.

Areas of Interest

Ruth Greenwood, Fair Representation in Local Government, 5 Ind. J.L. & Soc. Equality 197 (2017).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Civil Rights
,
Discrimination
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
,
State & Local Government
Type: Article
Abstract
This Article focuses on my work in Illinois to use the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to improve minority representation at the local level, but the themes and findings are applicable across the country because many states have growing minority populations in the suburbs just outside of large city centers. These minority populations tend to be much less segregated than the minority communities in the cities, and so it is more difficult to use Section 2 of the VRA (“Section 2”) to ensure both descriptive and substantive representation. I recommend the use of fair representation systems like ranked choice and cumulative voting (with multi-member districts) to improve minority representation in these decreasingly segregated areas. I introduce three case studies from Illinois to highlight the numerous burdens facing those that seek to reform their local government redistricting systems. I finish with some thoughts on how litigation and legislative advocacy may be used to promote fair representation systems in local government.
Ruth Greenwood, Return of the States, 40 The Harbinger 97 (2015).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Civil Rights
,
Discrimination
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
,
State & Local Government
Type: Article
Abstract
In the wake of Shelby County v Holder and the hundreds of restrictions on voting rights passed by state legislatures in the last five years, Ben Cady and Tom Glazer’s article, Voters Strike Back, provides a timely and comprehensive review of the causes of action available for voter intimidation. It provides guidance to litigators on how to use these currently underutilized provisions to protect voters, at a time when their rights are under renewed attack. Cady and Glazer’s article provokes two questions—one normative and one practical. First, should the courts treat voter intimidation committed under color of state law in the same way as that committed by private actors? I posit the answer should be yes. And second, how can litigators encourage the courts to stop ignoring the clear language and legislative history of section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act?4 The first step is to follow Cady and Glazer’s suggestion to only plead a section 11(b) violation, but litigators should also more clearly articulate the relevant language and history of that provision.

Education History

Current Courses

Course Catalog View