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Election Law

Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 8-22-16 featuring Mark F. Hearne II
Mark F. Hearne August 22, 2016

On April 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. In 2012, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission redrew the map for the state legislative districts based on the results of the 2010 census. Wesley Harris and other individual voters sued the Commission and alleged that the newly redrawn districts were underpopulated in Democratic-leaning districts and over-populated in Republican-leaning ones and that the Commission had, therefore, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Commission countered that the population deviations were the result of attempts to comply with the Voting Rights Act. A three-judge district court ruled in favor of the Commission.

On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court by a vote of 8-0. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, which held that the federal district court did not err in upholding Arizona's redistricting plan.  The challengers failed to demonstrate, the Court explained, that illegitimate considerations more likely than not were the predominant motivation for the plan's population deviations.

To discuss the case, we have Mark F. “Thor” Hearne, II, who is Partner at Arent Fox LLP.

Voter ID: A Debate - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Maya Noronha, Daniel P. Tokaji August 22, 2016

Recent North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin court decisions have invalidated voter ID laws under constitutional and Voting Rights Act challenges. How do these recent decisions square with Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, where the United States Supreme Court upheld the Indiana voter ID law in 2008? In this podcast, Maya M. Noronha, an election attorney at BakerHostetler, and Dan Tokaji, a law professor at The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, addressed these recent decisions and debated the legality of voter ID laws.

Featuring:

  • Ms. Maya Noronha, Associate, BakerHostetler
  • Prof. Daniel P. Tokaji, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

Court Rulings on Election Law - Podcast

Civil Rights and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Teleforum
Hans A. von Spakovsky August 10, 2016

There have been a series of recent court decisions at both the federal district court and court of appeals level involving election reforms in North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. These cases involve state statutes on voter ID, early voting, same day registration, and out-of-precinct voting. Hans von Spakovsky, Manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation, a former Commissioner on the Federal Election Commissioner, and the former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Justice Department will discuss these developments and the status of the litigation and the law governing elections and voting.

Featuring:

  • Hans A. von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

Wittman v. Personhuballah - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-15-16 featuring Derek Muller
Derek Muller June 15, 2016

On May 23, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Wittman v. Personhuballah. In 2012, the Virginia State Legislature adopted a redistricting plan that altered the composition of the Third Congressional District by increasing the percentage of African-American voters in the district. In 2013, a number of Third District residents sued state election officials, arguing that the District was racially gerrymandered in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. A three-judge district court agreed and held the redistricting plan to be unconstitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that judgment and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of its intervening decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama. On remand, the district court again held that the redistricting plan was unconstitutional and ordered the Virginia General Assembly to devise a remedial plan. When the Assembly did not do so the court devised its own remedial plan and ordered election officials to implement it.

Ten Members of Congress from Virginia, intervenors in the District Court below, appealed its rejection of the 2012 plan to the Supreme Court, alleging various errors in the District Court’s reasoning. By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Breyer indicated that the intervenors lacked standing to pursue their appeal.

To discuss the case, we have Derek Muller, who is Associate Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law.

Evenwel v. Abbott - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-16-16 featuring Andrew Grossman
Andrew Grossman May 16, 2016

On April 4, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Evenwel v. Abbott. As required by the Texas Constitution, the Texas legislature reapportioned its senate districts after the publication of the 2010 census, formally adopting an interim plan that had been put in place for the 2012 primaries. Plaintiffs, who are registered Texas voters, sued the Texas governor and secretary of state, asserting that the redistricting plan violated the one-person, one-vote principle of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, by failing to apportion districts to equalize both total population and voter population. A three-judge district court ruled in favor of the state officials.

On appeal, the question before the Supreme Court was whether the three-judge district court correctly held that the “one-person, one-vote” principle under the Equal Protection Clause allows States to use total population, and does not require States to use voter population when apportioning state legislative districts.

By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the three-judge district court. Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court, holding that constitutional history, precedent, and longstanding practice demonstrate that a state may draw its legislative districts based on total population. The Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined Justice GInsburg’s opinion for the Court. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Alito also filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, which Justice Thomas joined except as to Part III-B.

To discuss the case, we have Andrew Grossman, who is Partner at Baker & Hostetler, LLP.