MENU

Free Speech & Election Law

Protecting Eligible Voters: Evenwel v. Abbott and the Future of Redistricting

Civil Rights Practice Group Teleforum Thursday, July 28, 03:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution’s one-person, one-vote rule allows States to draw their legislative districts based on total population. In doing so, the Court rejected the appellants’ argument that the one-person, one-vote rule protects eligible voters and thus required States to equalize the population of eligible voters, not total population. The Court explicitly declined to resolve whether States may draw districts to equalize voter-eligible population rather than total population.

Our experts will analyze the Supreme Court’s decision and review the constitutional history underlying the one-person, one-vote doctrine. They will discuss the impact of Evenwel on future redistricting decisions, including the Court’s willingness to accept legislative districts based on eligible voters.

Featuring:

  • J. Michael Connolly, Counsel, Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC
  • Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

Supreme Court Rules on Honest-Services Fraud: Robert F. McDonnell v. United States - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
Randall D. Eliason, William J. Haun, Stephen R. Klein, Tara Malloy June 29, 2016

On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Robert F. McDonnell v. United States. The Court vacated the public corruption convictions of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, finding that the prosecution failed to properly instruct the jury on the definition of an “official action” as used in the federal bribery statute, Hobbs Act, and honest-services fraud statute. However, the Court rejected McDonnell's claims that the honest services statute and Hobbs Act are unconstitutional, and left the Court of Appeals to reconsider whether McDonnell had committed an "official act" under the Court's new definition. Our experts discussed the impact of the opinion, and debated its merits, as it relates to public corruption law and the criminal law more generally, as well as to the First Amendment and campaign finance law.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Randall D. Eliason, George Washington University Law School
  • William J. Haun, Associate, Hunton & Williams LLP
  • Stephen R. Klein, Attorney, Pillar of Law Institute
  • Tara Malloy, Deputy Executive Director, Campaign Legal Center

Net Neutrality Survives D.C. Circuit Challenge: U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Brett A. Shumate, Adam J. White June 20, 2016

On Wednesday, June 14, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial reclassification of broadband internet service as a telecommunications service subject to common carrier regulation under Title II of the Communications Act. The case, which many observers believe may ultimately end up before the United States Supreme Court, touches on major questions about the Communications Act, as well as First Amendment issues and larger administrative law controversies, including Chevron deference. Our experts discussed all of these angles and the outlook for the case going forward.

Featuring:

  • Brett A. Shumate, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
  • Adam J. White, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

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.

Speech Code for Lawyers? - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law, Litigation, and Professional Responsibilities & Legal Education Practice Groups Podcast
Eugene Volokh June 06, 2016

The American Bar Association (ABA) model rules of conduct have long wrestled with regulating the intersection of discrimination and the law of lawyering. The current model rules forbid discrimination in the practice of law only as a comment to the prohibition on lawyer conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. After much discussion and pressure, the ABA has proposed expanding the language to become new model rule 8.4 (g). If enacted, this rule would prohibit (in its own right) discrimination or harassment by a lawyer engaged in the practice of law against a list of protected classes, including ethnicity, gender identity, and marital status. Perhaps anticipating a challenge, the new rule's comment states that the new rule does not apply to non-lawyer conduct or activities protected by the first amendment and also exempts times when references to such protected groups and facts are needed to effectively represent a client. However, this new rule would apply to all conduct at primarily firm and legal events, including firm related social events.

What is discrimination or harassment over socioeconomic status? Since this rule applies to social settings, where is the line to be drawn and what chilling effect might be created? What about free speech and free association?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law