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Professor's documentary becomes part of U.S. Supreme Court history

Sep 29, 2017

Posted in: News

‌A documentary made by a journalism professor from the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture will soon become a part of the U.S. Supreme Court’s official record in a case that has the potential to decide the future of political gerrymandering.

Bill Oglesby, an associate professor of journalism in the Robertson School, formed a team that produced the documentary, "GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy on Its Head," and debuted the work earlier this year. The film, which was produced in cooperation with the public interest group OneVirginia2021 and sponsored by Community Idea Stations (PBS), examined the long and complicated history of gerrymandering in the state and the consequences the process causes to the democratic process.

With the Supreme Court coming back into session next week, one of the first cases the Court will hear arguments for deals with the subject that was the focus of Oglesby’s documentary—gerrymandering. As the justices hear arguments against political gerrymandering in the case, Oglesby’s documentary will be used as a source in the official record of the Court.

“I was surprised to hear the documentary was referenced, because usually it is quotations from lower court cases that are cited in these briefs,” Oglesby said. “It's exciting to think that one or more justices might even be prompted to watch the documentary.”

Oglesby’s film was also cited in an April episode of the HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

Watch the fill documentary below