In thirty years, Santa Clara has had an all-white city council. And now, one civil rights attorney is threatening to sue Santa Clara for it.

Santa Clara’s city council is an at-large body, meaning that residents from any part of the city can run for city council from any other part of the city. However, a candidate must declare which open seat they are running for. According to attorney Robert Rubin, this discourages minority candidates from running, and makes it more difficult for them to be elected.

Santa Clara wouldn’t be the first community he’s targeted. Rubin currently has a suit pending against San Mateo County, and he says he has won rulings against Modesto and Tulare, along with several school districts.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

A civil rights attorney has put Santa Clara on notice that the city might be in violation of state law because the City Council is all-white and has been that way for at least 30 years.

Robert Rubin didn’t mention a lawsuit in his June 2 letter to Mayor Jamie Matthews and the city attorney, but in an interview he said “we’re prepared to go to court” if the city doesn’t take action.

Rubin’s letter says the city’s at-large council system appears to violate the California Voting Rights Act.

Read the full article here.