The Supreme Court is Considering the Limits of Partisan Gerrymandering

The case stems from a Wisconsin state districting case

where a three-judge lower court last year invalidated a redistricting plan enacted by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature in 2011.

That court insisted that, following the 2010 census, the Republican State legislature redrew its legislative districts to favor Republicans and disfavor Democrats.

Election results since then have shown the redistricting had its intended effect, with the GOP winning a larger majority in the state assembly, even as the statewide tally of votes was nearly even between Republicans and Democrats, the lower court said.

Foolish

The Justice Department is clashing with career site Glassdoor Inc over the company’s refusal to identify users who posted anonymous employee reviews of a veterans health-care company under federal investigation.

That’s been fought over in civil courts, but this is a first for a potentially criminal matter.  The Federal government is the one making the demand this time because the Feds want witnesses for a grand jury investigation into Glassdoor.

Whatever the parameters of any possible criminal case involved here, there are some questions that need careful consideration.  Leave aside 1st Amendment questions regarding a right, especially but not necessarily limited to political discourse, to discourse anonymously.

A First Amendment Beef

This one, I think, is a bad beef.  A Columbia University club known as the Knight First Amendment Institute, styling themselves a First Amendment advocate organization, has taken notice of the fact that President Donald Trump has blocked some folks from his personal twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, an account he’s had since well before the campaign and his election.  The Director of the Institute, Jameel Jaffer, wrote a letter to “the Trump administration” claiming that the Constitution “requires” those accounts to be unblocked.

Constituents

Who are a Federal judge’s—at any level of the judicial hierarchy—constituents?  I asked this question of a number of folks, and the most cogent answer I got was this: “in order, the law and justice.”  Even that answer, though, is only about one-third right IMNSHO.

Here is the first oath of office Federal judge and Justice must take; it’s the same as any Congressman must take.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Heather Mac Donald, in an opinion piece in a recent Wall Street Journal argued that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is getting a bad rap over his decision to reinstate emphasis on mandatory minimum sentencing and that those minimum sentencing requirements themselves get a bad rap.  She’s right on both counts.

Briefly

President Trump has promised to roll back the regulatory state, but he’ll need the help of a judiciary that has for decades deferred too eagerly to executive agencies.

Indeed.  As the WSJ op-ed at the link says, that’ll require the judiciary to recognize its role in the Federal government and, in particular, its position in the hierarchy.

The proximate matter here is a DC Circuit ruling in US Telecom Association v Federal Communications Commission which used the Chevron Deference doctrine (which holds that the Court should be spring-loaded to uphold an Executive Branch agency rule rather than considering its constitutionality—its legitimacy—de novo on its merits) to find for the FCC.  Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented, and he based his dissent in large part on decrying that deference doctrine.  The WSJ asked

Law and Trump’s EO Regarding Travel Delays

The 4th Circuit Appellate Court is hearing the Trump administration’s appeal of Hawaii and Maryland Federal trial judges’ preliminary injunctions blocking implementation of the President Donald Trump’s second Executive Order imposing a temporary travel delay of its own on persons from six Middle East nations from entering the United States (with provisions for case-by-case exceptions).  Even though Hawaii is in the 9th Circuit and not the 4th, I’m using the Hawaii ruling as my example here since the Maryland ruling is substantially the same, the Hawaii ruling is more readily available, and I’m lazy.

A Thought on Filibusters and Supreme Court Nominees

In a Wall Street Journal piece on the potential for Senate Democrat obstructionism (my term) provoking an end to the filibuster as it concerns Supreme Court nominees, Kristina Peterson had this remark:

If the Senate is able to confirm Supreme Court nominees with just a simple majority, centrists in both parties fear that future presidents whose party also controls the Senate will have no incentive to pick a nominee aimed to garner bipartisan support.

Pre-judging

Democrats want Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch to prejudge case that might come before him as a litmus test of his fitness to sit on the Court—i.e., his willingness to subordinate himself and the Supreme Court—the pinnacle of a coequal branch of our Federal Government—to the Progressive-Democratic subset of Congress.

Democrats…want [Gorsuch] to declare how he would rule in specific areas of the law—questions that every Supreme Court nominee declines to answer.

Vermont Senator Pat Leahy said last week he would “insist on real answers from Judge Gorsuch.”

And

Partial Immigration Moratorium

The irrationality of some Federal District judges is being made palpable by their rulings against the latest Executive Order involving a temporary moratorium on folks from six terrorist- and terrorism-supporting countries.  Here’s one example, from US District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii:

The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable.  The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.

Yet he chose not to explain his own logic, nor did he deign explain the limiting principle he holds underlying this claim.  Indeed, he explicitly refused to explain himself: