Supreme Court Prepares to Take On Politically Charged Cases

by - October 06, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court building.
U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Supreme Court is back in session, and it promises to be an interesting and controversial session.

Supreme Court Prepares to Take On Politically Charged Cases
The last Supreme Court term ended with liberal victories, conservative disarray and bruised relations among the justices. The new one, which opens on Monday, marks the start of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s second decade on the court and will reveal whether the last term’s leftward drift and acrimony were anomalies or something more lasting. The court will decide major cases on politically charged issues, including the fate of public unions and affirmative action in higher education. It will most probably hear its first major abortion case since 2007 and revisit the clash between religious liberty and contraception coverage.
The Supreme Court Is Back At Work, And Things Look Pretty Ugly Already
Evenwel concerns the Constitution's "one person, one vote" principle. The precedent giving states the freedom to draw state legislative maps on the basis of total population has been settled since the 1960s, but now conservative voters -- represented by Blum's legal team -- are telling the court that Texas is "diluting" their voting power by drawing state district maps on the basis of everyone living in them, including undocumented immigrants, children and other non-voters. Does the Constitution grant them representation, too?
The Roberts Court & the Future of Free Speech
First, in a series of cases, the most well-known of which is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Court has been insistent that protecting political speech is at the heart of the First Amendment’s purposes in a democracy and that limits on political spending are limits on political speech and can rarely be justified. The Court’s theory, echoing earlier rulings, is that government restrictions on how much can be spent to speak about politics and government and what individuals or groups can do the spending and speaking are fundamentally anathema to the essence of political freedom of speech and association. In these campaign finance cases, the Court has also reaffirmed a theme that transcends politics: that another core purpose of the First Amendment is to guarantee that the people, not the government, get to determine what they want to say and how they want to say it. This liberty-affirming concept, which celebrates the autonomy of each person and group and condemns censorship of thought and speech by government, has application well beyond the political realm and guarantees the strongest protection to free speech in a number of settings, including protection for artistic, corporate and commercial speech as well. In all of these areas the Roberts Court has insisted that the First Amendment presumption against government censorship is but another recognition of individual and group freedom.
Supreme Court Inadvertently Announces Argument Date in Voting Case | Supreme Court Brief
The closely watched "one person one vote" election law case Evenwel v. Abbott is set to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 30, according to an apparently inadvertent post on the court's website.
5 cases to watch as Supreme Court term begins - POLITICO
The meaning of "one person, one vote’
A Texas case has the potential to deal a blow to Latino political clout, tilting the balance of power away from urban areas and towards suburban and rural areas with more white voters. Evenwel v. Abbott presents the question of whether state legislative districts can be apportioned using a count of eligible voters rather than a count of all people. If immigrants (both illegal and legal) as well as children can be left out of the count, “the rural areas where voters tend to have fewer non-citizens or where there are fewer young people concentrated would necessarily gain,” said New York University Law Professor Rick Pildes. “It’s a reasonable inference if the urban areas are more Democratic leaning that they would lose power to more Republican rural areas.” Congressional redistricting shouldn’t be directly affected by the case, Pildes said, because the Constitution says the U.S. census used for that reapportionment should be based on each state's population. But others say the ruling could spill over into Congressional redistricting down the line.

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