Search Results for ‘gill whitford’

New: Cato Supreme Court Review (including me on gerrymandering and the Constitution)

On Monday the Cato Institute published its annual Cato Supreme Court Review for the 2017-18 Supreme Court term. Included is my 7,000-word article on the Supreme Court’s cases last term on partisan gerrymandering, Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland). Several people have told me that I managed to make a dry and complicated subject understandable and even entertaining, which I take as the highest compliment.

The entire CSCR is online, and here are its contents. I assisted in the editing of the pieces by Joseph Bishop-Henchman on the Internet sales tax case South Dakota v. Wayfair, and by Jennifer Mascott on the government-structure case Lucia v. SEC.


The Battle for the Court: Politics vs. Principles by Roger Pilon
Introduction By Ilya Shapiro


The Administrative Threat to Civil Liberties by Philip Hamburger


The Travel Bans by Josh Blackman


The Ghost Ship of Gerrymandering Law by Walter Olson


Katz Nipped and Katz Cradled: Carpenter and the Evolving Fourth Amendment by Trevor Burrus and James Knight

Class v. United States: Bargained Justice and a System of Efficiencies by Lucian E. Dervan


Masterpiece Cakeshop: A Romer for Religious Objectors? by Thomas C. Berg

To Speak or Not to Speak, That Is Your Right: Janus v. AFSCME by David Forte

NIFLA v. Becerra: A Seismic Decision Protecting Occupational Speech by Robert McNamara and Paul Sherman

Regulation of Political Apparel in Polling Places: Why the Supreme Court’s Mansky Opinion Did Not Go Far Enough by Rodney A. Smolla


Betting on Federalism: Murphy v. NCAA and the Future of Sports Gambling by Mark Brnovich

Internet Sales Taxes from 1789 to the Present Day: South Dakota v. Wayfair by Joseph Bishop-Henchman

“Officers” in the Supreme Court: Lucia v. SEC by Jennifer Mascott


Looking Ahead: October Term 2018 by Erin E. Murphy

Courts and political logjams

What one observer sees as a logjam or political gridlock, of course, can look to another like the welcome avoidance of bad legislation. But that’s not the only reason the courts are reluctant to assume one or another new power on the logic that the political branches have wrongfully failed to act in some area. In a new Cato at Liberty post, I cite a notable passage addressing this point in Monday’s Gill v. Whitford decision on redistricting.

Court sidelines gerrymander cases

By February, clues were in plain sight that the Supreme Court was not inclined to hand down a “big” landmark decision this term on gerrymandering. That was confirmed yesterday when the Court got both cases off its plate without reaching the merits, instead disposing of them for now on issues of standing (Gill v. Whitford, Wisconsin) and timing (Benisek v. Lamone, Maryland). Strikingly, both decisions were unanimous as to result, a clue as to the carefully limited scope of what was decided, and both cases can continue in the courts below with their legal theories mostly intact. “The Court has kicked the issue of partisan gerrymandering down the road. States shouldn’t,” I write in a new Cato commentary on the decisions.

Partisan gerrymandering: what the Court could do

At Five Thirty-Eight, Galen Druke provides a helpful breakdown of the different ways the Supreme Court might resolve or fail to resolve the Wisconsin and Maryland partisan gerrymandering cases, Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone. Briefly, the Court could 1) find partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional, and accept the theory of either the Wisconsin or the Maryland case, which are quite different from each other; 2) find it unconstitutional and announce or at least gesture toward a standard other than those urged in the two cases; 3) duck the whole thing on grounds such as standing or mootness; 4) reject the Wisconsin and Maryland theories while leaving the door open (as in Vieth) for a future case to bring in the right theory; 5) reject the suits and all future claims of this sort as not justiciable, which would require Anthony Kennedy’s crossing to join the conservatives’ position in earlier cases; 6) kick the cases to next term, when they could be joined by a North Carolina case; or 7) splinter in some way that resolves the case without letting one of the above outcomes command five votes. A decision of some sort is expected by the end of the term June 25.

Where the Justices, and states, might be headed on partisan gerrymandering

Ballotpedia asked me to contribute to a mini-symposium on how the Supreme Court may deal with the partisan gerrymandering cases cases of Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland), and you can read the results here (see also my Cato write-up).

Separately, I’m scheduled to testify in Annapolis on state-level proposals for redistricting reform on Feb. 26 (House of Delegates) and March 1 (Senate). Come up and say hello afterward if you’re there.

January 10 roundup

November 29 roundup

  • Will it ever end? “Monkey Selfie Photographer Says He’s Now Going To Sue Wikipedia” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt, earlier]
  • Justice Thomas argues Indian Reorganization Act is unconstitutional [Upstate Citizens for Equality v. U.S., land-into-trust, dissenting from denial of certiorari]
  • “How much does it cost to reimburse a probation officer for $60 pants? About $4,300, so far” [John Beauge, PennLive]
  • On Gill v. Whitford, partisan gerrymandering, and the uses of math in law [Erica Goldberg]
  • Brazil makes progress on fighting corruption, advancing rule of law [Juan Carlos Hidalgo on new Cato policy analysis by Geanluca Lorenzon]
  • “Activision are fighting a [trademark] for ‘Call of DooDee’, a dog-poop-removal service” [PC Games]

Supreme Court and constitutional law roundup

Supreme Court will look at partisan gerrymandering

The U.S. Supreme Court has now agreed to hear a much-watched Wisconsin case, Gill v. Whitford, inviting it to reconsider its position that the Constitution does not create a judicial remedy for partisan gerrymandering. I wrote a post for Cato on the case and its implications, cautioning that the euphoria in some circles about an impending change in the high court’s jurisprudence is at best premature. The Justices by a 5-4 margin stayed the lower court order from Wisconsin, which hints, at least, that Justice Anthony Kennedy might not be persuaded by the advocates hoping to get him to open wide the door he left ajar in his 2004 concurrence in Vieth v. Jubelirer. [cross-posted and abridged from Free State Notes, which has more on the Maryland implications]

Gerrymandering: the political kind…

I wrote the new chapter on redistricting reform in the just-out 8th Edition of Cato’s Handbook for Policymakers. The issue continues to rise in visibility with new federal court rulings on the topic, notably in Wisconsin (Whitford v. Gill), and former President Barack Obama’s announced intention of being active on the topic.

Closer to home for me, the Maryland legislature will again consider Gov. Larry Hogan’s bill to create an independent redistricting commission to replace the state’s current insider-dominated method of drawing Congressional and state legislative district lines. Last month (see above) I joined WAMU radio host Kojo Nnamdi, former Del. Aisha Braveboy and Maryland GOP chair Dirk Haire to discuss the prospects for reform (audio link). Hearings are this Friday in Annapolis and I’ll be there, not wearing my Cato hat but as part of my civic involvement.