- Professor Richard Duncan, Nebraska Law
On December 5, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold oral arguments on two redistricting cases, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. After the movement of population, both Virginia and North Carolina legislatures redrew plans for their state legislative districts. However, plaintiffs in each state challenged the plans as racial gerrymanders diluting the vote of African-American voters. Both cases raise the question of how to comply with the Voting Rights Act requirement that racial minorities have the ability to elect representatives of their choice, along with the Constitutional prohibition of race predominating in the drawing of plans. The Court will be also be asked to clarify the acceptable ways to consider minority populations in drawing plans, what plaintiffs need to show to prove a racial gerrymander, and what would trigger strict scrutiny.
What is the origin of the term “lame-duck?” Edward J. Larson, Professor and Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University gives a history of the 20th Amendment and discusses how lame-duck lawmaking has been part of our nation's history.
Although a territory of the United States and subject to the Constitution’s guarantees of non-discrimination, Guam law permits only those who meet the definition of “Native Inhabitants of Guam” to vote in a future status plebiscite. Guam thus excludes most citizens of the United States from voting in the plebiscite. Supporters of the plebiscite are forcing a reexamination of the role of the United States on this strategically important island without giving all citizens a voice in the process. What are the implications for the reach of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. national security? Our speaker discussed the ongoing lawsuit against Guam.