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Supreme Court rebuffs request for live audio streaming

Supreme Court rebuffs request for live audio streaming

"I think Mr. Gorsuch is going to prove himself to be one of the most, if not the most conservative Justice on the court".

After the hour-long argument in the major voting rights case out of Wisconsin, it appeared that conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who sometimes sides with the court's liberals in big cases, could cast the decisive vote.

The court traditionally begins its annual session on the first Monday of October. These formulas answer an important question that Kennedy asked in a previous case - what kind of "workable standard" can lower courts use to sort out which maps must be struck down? "That no such standard has emerged in this case should not be taken to prove that none will emerge in the future", Kennedy argued. Would you say to them, “What you want is to have the party holding power at any particular moment draw the district lines, so they can maximize their advantage and shut the other party out”?

Religious Discrimination - in two cases that will determine whether President Trump's Muslim travel and refugee ban exceeds his power under federal immigration laws and violates the First Amendment (note that the case is now off the argument calendar while the parties hash out how Trump's newest policy affects the case).

Lawyers for Wisconsin Democratic voters tried to convince justices Tuesday that a measurable standard or test exists: the so-called efficiency gap. In order to bring a lawsuit, a plaintiff must demonstrate they have "standing", that is, a tangible and particularized injury a court can relieve.

"You are the only institution in the United States. that can solve this problem", Smith added. The city asked a judge to rule in its favor and bar the case from moving any further through the courts, but was denied after a trial court hearing.

A federal district court panel in Wisconsin agreed with the plaintiffs past year, adopting a mathematical test it said proved Republicans had systematically diluted the impact of Democratic voters.

The bipartisan group of congressmen had wanted live audio streaming available online of Tuesday's case, where the justices weighed whether to wade into the thorny issue of partisan gerrymandering.

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Paul Smith, an attorney for the Wisconsin Democratic voters, adamantly disagreed. In August, however, the government told the court the earlier data had been wrong; in fact, the average detention lasted more than a year.

In Wisconsin, as in many states, the state legislature draws new maps every 10 years, giving the party in control an opportunity to reshape voting districts. "In 2014 and 2016, Republicans extended their advantage to 63 and 64 seats, respectively, even though the statewide vote remained almost tied", Whitford said. Thus, a ruling against Wisconsin will represent a significant change in the law and require state legislature's to reevaluate how they carry out redistricting.

And so Republican legislators met with lawyers and exchanged emails that discussed packing Democratic voters into a few urban districts while spreading other groups of Democrats thinly across the state, setting up a majority of districts Republicans could win. (During the 2012 election, Democratic House candidates won 1.4 million more votes nationally than Republicans, but the GOP won 33 more seats.) According to a recent analysis by Decision Desk HQ, Democrats are projected to win 54 percent of votes for the House in 2018 but pick up only 47 percent of seats.

The court is considering the legality of partisan gerrymandering, the practice that began two centuries ago of manipulating boundaries of legislative districts to benefit one party and diminish another, and whether the Republicans who drew Wisconsin's electoral map meant to reduce the clout of Democratic voters.

The second immigration case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, was heard today.

He gave a hard time to those defending Wisconsin's 2011 redistricting plan, which has been criticized as one of the most extreme versions of partisan gerrymandering in the country.

"The court really has never gone that far", said Eric Magnuson, a former Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice who was an attorney for the Republican-controlled Legislature during the last redistricting process.

Remarkably, some Republicans are joining Democrats in a collective cry for help. The Supreme Court also found in May that North Carolina Republicans engaged in racial gerrymandering, which prompted only a small revision of the state's political districts. Scalia mocked this as "never-say-never" jurisprudence. The question: Are extreme partisan gerrymanders violations of either the equal protection clause or possibly the First Amendment?

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