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Supreme Court Update

June 27, 2019

· Supreme Court,Politics,Law,Gerrymandering,Census

Two huge rulings were handed down by the Supreme Court today, both affecting the world of politics.

1 - The Court held in a 5-4 decision that it was outside of the Court's jurisdiction to rule on a question of gerrymandering (the redrawing of voting district boundaries), with Chief Justice Roberts stating in the Court's opinion that "Partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts." The Court's decision does leave the question open to be addressed by courts at the individual state level. This decision has far reaching implications, most notably that unless a law is passed to address gerrymandering , the political party in power in a given state will have nearly unfettered power to redraw voting districts in a way that allows that party to stay in power. Justice Kagan did not hold back her disappointment and exasperation in her dissenting opinion, a snippet of which can be read here
 

The following links contain additional information on the Court's decision, the implications of the decision, and the likely next steps in the gerrymandering battle:


Explaining Gerrymandering (Short Video)
Breaking Down the Ruling - Politico.com
What's Next? - fivethirtyeight.com

2 - The Court also ruled on the hotly contested citizenship question that the Trump administration attempted to include in the current US Census. The Court held that the administration did not provide an adequate explanation that would allow for the inclusion of the citizenship question in the census. Chief Justice Roberts again wrote the opinion and effectively called out the administration for blatantly lying about its explanation for the question (although he did so in slightly more artful terms). However, the Court did not strike down the question entirely - it is allowing the Commerce Department to provide a "non-pretextual explanation" for the question. It is unlikely that the Department will be able to provide such an explanation in time for the question's inclusion in the Census.

For more information follow the links below:
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