RBG WORKING FROM HOME, MISSES TODAY’S ARGUMENTS | SCOTUS To Take On Partisan Gerrymandering Again
January 7, 2019
OUT OF OFFICE|
Today marks the first day of Supreme Court oral argument in the new year, but SCOTUS is one justice short. For the first time in her career, JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG will miss a session while she continues to recuperate from surgery. As today’s court session began, CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS announced RBG is working from home and will participate in the two cases scheduled for oral argument by reading briefs, filings and a transcript of the sessions.
DEALING WITH THE INEVITABLE|
On Friday, the justices announced that they will once again take up the issue of partisan gerrymandering, agreeing to consider rulings from two lower courts that found congressional maps in North Carolina and Maryland so extreme that they violated the rights of voters. Last year SCOTUS avoided ruling on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering in two cases out of Wisconsin and Maryland, but their retaking up of the issue, and the five conservative votes now on the bench, could mean the court is ready to say conclusively how courts should consider partisan gerrymandering cases.
Also on Friday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s military ban and said it should not have been blocked by a district court while it was being challenged. The panel found that the district D.C. judge who blocked the administration from enforcing the ban was wrong to do so because the ban isn’t a ban at all as long as transgender people present as their sex identified at birth. In other words, the ban on transgender people serving in the military isn’t a ban if those people pretend that they aren’t transgender. However, the outcome of this ruling doesn’t necessarily change anything. The ban won’t yet be implemented because several injunctions from other courts still remain in place.
CAN IT GET ANY WORSE|
“The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to take up partisan gerrymandering cases from North Carolina and Maryland brought to mind a saying attributed to Judy Garland: Behind every cloud is another cloud.” That’s Richard Hasen arguing in The Atlantic that it’s likely SCOTUS won’t rule that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional and instead, will make the issue a whole lot worse.
Friday, SCOTUS agreed to review another free speech battle and decide whether trademark protection can be refused to brands the federal government finds vulgar or lewd. Robert Barnes with The Washington Post reports on the case concerning the trademark registration of a clothing brand called “FUCT.”
OTHER NEWSThe Hill
“The Richmond, Va.-based federal court of appeals released a tentative calendar, marking off days in March to hear President Trump’s appeal of a federal judge’s decision to allow a lawsuit accusing him of unconstitutionally profiting off the presidency by accepting payments through his D.C. hotel.”USA Today
“President Donald Trump is betting big on the Supreme Court in 2019 to revive controversial policies on issues ranging from immigration and border security to transgender soldiers in the military. Seeking to match the success he had at the high court on his immigration travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries last year, Trump is counting on the justices – including two that he picked – to reverse lower court losses at the hands of both liberal and conservative judges.”