COACH KAGAN HAS A PLAN FOR PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING | Justice Department Wants SCOTUS Help With Sanctuary Cities | Justice Hamlet & The Shy Guy
June 19, 2018
TA-TA FOR NOW|
In The Washington Post, Barry C. Burden and David T. Canon note that although the Supreme Court Monday decided not to decide about the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering, the issue will return to 1 First Street sooner than we might think.
PUT ME IN COACH|
So the justices decided to punt on gerrymandering yesterday, but Noah Feldman writes in Bloomberg that thankfully “Coach Kagan has a plan.” JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN’S concurring opinion “amounted to a rough draft of the brief she wants the plaintiffs to submit. That brief is aimed squarely and explicitly at [JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY].” In other words, Kagan doesn’t think Kennedy is retiring, and she’s putting forward a playbook for convincing him to strike down partisan gerrymandering as a First Amendment violation.
DON'T BE A TEASE|
The Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal thinks it wise that SCOTUS chose to duck out of “the political thicket of partisan gerrymanders.” But the outcome of the case was a little too close for their taste given JUSTICE KAGAN’S concurrence that “offered a neon path for the plaintiffs to revise their claims.” WSJ: “The case could return to the Court, and the danger remains that the Justices could decide to assert judicial supremacy over legislative map-making. This would undermine the Constitution’s separation of powers and further politicize the judiciary. If liberals have their druthers, voters may eventually conclude that judges are as biased as politicians.”
COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE|
Jeffrey Toobin notes for The New Yorker that in the Trump era, when “news developments are always worse than you think”, the Supreme Court’s decision in Gill v. Whitford came as practically a breath of fresh air. Because while the ruling wasn’t ideal in the way of solving partisan gerrymandering, Toobin says it offers hope for a solution to the issue in the near future.
WHEREVER THIS FLAG'S FLOWN, WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN|
“We believe, then, that’s it’s up to us — state legislators — to act on behalf of the constituents that elected us and end partisan gerrymandering on our own.” That’s SEN. FRANK LAROSE and REP. DAVID OLSEN opining for NBC News that it’s the responsibility of local leaders to provide remedies to overly partisan gerrymandering. They write, “Take it from us two Republican state legislators: Even if our party benefitted, it’s still wrong. By gerrymandering districts, we send the message that winning elections is more important than finding effective policy solutions for all citizens. And when that happens, we lose the trust and confidence of the people we were elected to represent. In America—a model for democracy around the globe—that is unacceptable.”
BRINGING IN THE BIG GUNS|
Yesterday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to narrow a lower court’s nationwide ruling that blocks the federal government from punishing sanctuary cities. The Justice Department argued that a Chicago judge was wrong to stop the government from enforcing its policy of denying law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities nationwide. The DOJ thinks the order should have been limited to only the city of Chicago, not the entire country.
Adam Liptak with The New York Times reports on the second Supreme Court victory for FANE LOZMAN, who won again this week when justices ruled that he must be allowed the chance to prove that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested while speaking at a Florida City Council meeting.
Another SCOTUS repeater is making headlines this week after the Supreme Court decided to to again take up the case of the hunter who sued the National Park Service for stopping him from shooting moose from a hovercraft in Alaska. The case will determine the federal government’s right to ban hovercrafts from national parks, even in areas where the state itself does not ban use of the vehicle.
THE SHY GUY|
Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick warns that under the leadership of CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, the Supreme Court “has shied so far from anything resembling partisanship that it risks undermining its own authority.” In fact, she argues that it would be more appropriate to refer to SCOTUS as the MITCH MCCONNELL Court. “Not only did he successfully persuade his country and his party that presidents of the opposing party may not appoint Supreme Court justices, he also continues to crow about how his politicization of that same Supreme Court remains his single most important achievement. And the corresponding (and perfectly rational) response from the court continues to be to shy away from anything that resembles partisanship.”
JUSTICE HAMLET LIVES|
Also in Slate, Richard Hasen reacts to the partisan gerrymandering issue that the Supreme Court punted this week. He notes, “Although people will focus on the court’s ducking of the issue, what’s really going on is that two of the court’s savviest justices on the right and left, CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS and JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, are continuing a battle for the soul of JUSTICE KENNEDY on the question of politics in redistricting, and Kennedy, who apparently is not leaving the court anytime soon, watches, broods, and stays silent.” But it’s possible he won’t be staying silent for long, with a North Carolina gerrymandering case soon to come before the high court that is “tailor-made” for Justice Kennedy’s First Amendment theory. “At that point, Justice Hamlet, should he decide to actually make a decision, could take that case and settle this whole thing. But don’t hold your breath.”
SCOTUS VIEWSThe New York Times
“Looming in the wings, and probably to be heard in the next term is the case from North Carolina, which will squarely test how aggressively courts will be in policing partisan manipulation of district design. We are likely to find out then whether it really is legal for legislatures to move voters in or out of a district based on their voting histories for no legitimate purpose other than the party in charge of the redistricting is seeking to gain partisan advantage.”The Washington Post
“With the courts punting on redistricting, it remains voters’ responsibility to safeguard fair democracy. But as Kagan noted in her concurrence, that’s not easy when one side has the power to entrench themselves in power for a decade. Indeed, Republicans have shown every willingness to use that power and skew elections in their favor.”CNN
“In November, there are 36 gubernatorial races on the ballot – 26 of which states are currently controlled by Republicans including massive (and massively important) battleground states like Florida and Ohio. Win in November, and you are in office through (at least) 2022. In virtually all of those states, the governor has a vote – or a veto – on whatever map the state legislature produces following the next census in 2020 and the redistricting of the country’s congressional (and state legislative) lines that follows.”
OTHER NEWSThe Washington Post
“Apple has vigorously opposed the lawsuit, and courts have split as to whether consumers are directly harmed by its App Store policies. After a recent loss, Apple appealed to the Supreme Court, which must address whether consumers have standing to bring such a case in the first place. A loss for Apple could mean trouble for other companies, like Google and Microsoft, which have their own repositories for third-party apps on smartphones and other devices.”