Voting Rights

Supreme Court Preview: What Is in Store for October Term 2016? - Event Audio/Video

Co-Sponsored by the Faculty Division and the Practice Groups
Thomas C. Goldstein, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Carrie Severino, George J. Terwilliger, Robert Barnes September 28, 2016

October 4th will mark the first day of oral arguments for the 2016 Supreme Court term. The Court's docket already includes major cases involving insider trading, the Fourth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, criminal law, IP and patent law, the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses, the Fair Housing Act, and voting rights.

The full list of cases granted thus far for the upcoming term can be viewed on SCOTUSblog here. The panelists will also discuss the current composition and the future of the Court.

This event was held on September 27, 2016, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.


  • Mr. Thomas C. Goldstein, Goldstein & Russell PC
  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Georgetown Law Center
  • Ms. Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network
  • Hon. George J. Terwilliger, McGuireWoods LLP
  • Moderator: Mr. Robert Barnes, The Washington Post

National Press Club
Washington, DC

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.

Democracy and Political Ignorance

Short video featuring Ilya Somin
Ilya Somin August 18, 2016

What role does ignorance play in voting and political decision-making? Can political ignorance be rational? Is it good for society? Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, discusses the problems (and virtues) of political ignorance in a democracy and how we might mitigate negative consequences.

You might also be interested in Professor Somin's book on this topic: Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter