- Hans von Spakovsky, The Heritage Foundation
Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law joined us Monday, December 12 to discuss the ABA’s new Rule 8.4 on professional misconduct. The Rule states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.” The ABA goes further in Comments, stating that “Such discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others,” and that the Rule applies in any situation, even social, that is “connected to the practice of law.” Professor Volokh discussed the First Amendment implications and reaction to the new rule.
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.
On Tuesday, October 11, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado. This case involves the constitutionality of a Colorado rule that bars a defendant from introducing evidence that a juror was racially biased. The justices will consider whether applying a no-impeachment rule to block evidence in this context violates the Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury.