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Gerrymander Side-Step on a Hot Day

Nothing is more welcome on a broiling summer day in DC than the cool marble halls inside the Supreme Court building . Outside, by the plaza, camera crews waited under beach umbrellas for reporters with news of the Court’s latest opinions.

Of the five opinions announced today the most anticipated were two partisan-gerrymander cases. There was optimism at the beginning of the term, when the first gerrymander case was argued in October, that the Justices might at last come up with a solution to the problem of political redistricting. But the Court left it to another day, another term. Both cases were returned to the District courts.

 

Arizona Redistricting Opinion and DUI Argument

On Wednesday the Supreme Court released three opinions, two of which made news, one of which – Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission – I sketched. I would’ve sketched the opinion in Bank Markazi v Peterson, that upheld a law directing Iranian assets to go to victims of terrorism, except I really couldn’t see much of Justice Ginsburg’s tiny figure hunched behind the bench as she delivered the opinion.

Sketches of the argument in Birchfield v. North Dakota, actually three cases concerning state laws that make it a crime to refuse a warrantless blood-alcohol test when stopped for DUI, are below.

It Was All About Voting

I prepared the banner you see above for SCOTUSblog because the Court was to hear arguments today in two voting related cases, Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and Evenwel v. Abbott. But I didn’t expect the trifecta that came with Justice Scalia’s opinion in a Maryland voting redistricting case, Shapiro v. McManus, especially since it was argued just last month. My lucky day.

Anyway, here are the sketches from today’s two argument:

Redistricting and Three-Judge Panels

A dazzling fall morning on the Supreme Court plaza as spectators line up for oral arguments.

One of those arguments, Shapiro v. McManus, was about whether a lawsuit challenging Maryland redistricting should be decided by a three-judge panel. It’s a bit technical and I won’t attempt to explain. The New York Time’s Adam Liptak reports on the argument here.

Be sure to read to the end of Liptak’s article for the exchange between Maryland Assistant Attorney General Steven Sullivan and Justice Scalia on the topic of “little green men and extraterrestrials”.