• September 16, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    In The Atlantic, Garrett Epps writes about the unique gerrymandering question in Arizona and the Constitutional questions raised in putting redistricting in the hands of the people. 

    Less than $5,200 can buy you influence in Congress, argues Usha Rodrigues in Slate.

    The Editorial Board of The New York Times argues that the decision to allow officials to enforce a controversial voter ID law in Wisconsin will cause electoral chaos.

    Hannah Levintova of Mother Jones provides details on the seven same-sex marriage cases the Supreme Court is considering whether to hear this term.

    At Above the Law, Joe Patrice examines a federal lawsuit filed by a student at Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law over their investigation of the student’s alleged cheating.

  • August 25, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    Sean McElwee writes for Salon on the evidence outside of Ferguson that shows the United States is far from a post-racial society.

    In Vox, Julia Belluz and Steven Hoffman discuss how race is a major factor even in healthcare quality in the United States. 

    Jon Healey explains in the Los Angeles Times the means by which the Obama administration is trying to save the contraception mandate. 

    Jamelle Bouie writes for Slate on the different goals of the white and black communities in Ferguson.

    ThinkProgress’s Ian Millhiser explains how Florida will stay gerrymandered despite challenges to the state’s congressional maps.

  • August 20, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    At the Text & History Blog, Brianne Gorod argues that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit should rehear the Halbig case en banc.

    Connor Fridersdorf writes in The Atlantic that when criminal investigations begin in Ferguson, authorities must carefully consider how to treat the actions of law enforcement officers.

    Vox’s Amanda Taub questions whether a grand jury hearing on the shooting of Michael Brown is a delaying tactic.

    Julia Preston of The New York Times reports on immigrant rights movement leaders seeking to delay the deportations of millions.

    In The Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that a fairer system for choosing House members is necessary in light of frequent gerrymandering.

    Lauren C. Williams of Think Progress asserts that placing body cameras on police will not significantly improve the problem of police abuse.  

  • August 5, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    Adam Liptak of The New York Times discusses Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent comments on the Supreme Court’s different treatment of cases involving gay people and women. Justice Ginsburg comments suggest that the five-justice conservative majority does “not understand the challenges women face in achieving authentic equality.”

    In Slate, Emily Bazelon explains the recent decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama that blocked major restrictions on abortion clinics. Despite these pro-choice victories, the legal fight against allegedly burdensome regulations on abortion clinics remains an uphill battle as a Texas law goes before the Fifth Circuit.

    Robert Barnes of The Washington Post reports that a Florida judge has found two of the state’s congressional districts unconstitutional. The decision, one of several challenging gerrymandering throughout the country, sets the stage for a possible Supreme Court case in the fall. 

    Shawn DuBravac, the chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Association, writes for the Harvard Business Review that the Supreme Court’s view on the Fourth Amendment is increasingly taking into account changing technology and the importance digital privacy.

    The New York Times’ James Barron provides the obituary for James S. Brady, White House press secretary for President Ronald Reagan and a major champion of gun control legislation.

    The Alliance for Justice published a comprehensive report detailing each federal case on the legality of a same-sex marriage ban. 

  • July 11, 2014

    by Paul Guequierre

    The Orlando Sentinel is reporting Florida's re-drawn congressional map intentionally favors Republicans in violation of the anti-gerrymandering standards voters approved in 2010 and will have to be re-drawn, according to a ruling late Thursday from a Tallahassee judge. Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, who found particular problems in two central Florida seats, went to the root of the problem in his decision, quoting President George Washington's farewell address warning of associations of "cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men" who could subvert the will of voters. Lewis went on to write the case "goes to the very foundation of our representative democracy."

    With gerrymandering becoming a nationwide problem in the wake of the 2010 Republican wave, Florida voters in 2010 passed two constitutional amendments known as the Fair Districts amendments which required lawmakers to draw legislative and congressional seats more compactly, within existing geographic and local government boundaries and without intentional favoritism toward political parties or incumbents. Shortly after the passage of the amendments, Republicans drafted their gerrymandered districts and the Florida Legislature passed its first attempt at maps. The Florida Supreme Court in 2012 ruled the state Senate seats violated the mandate and ordered them redrawn, after the League of Women Voters of Florida and other groups filed suit in state court, alleging Republican lawmakers violated the Fair Districts standards.

    In his ruling, Lewis found fault with Central Florida districts, in particular, District 5 held by Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, which Lewis wrote was unnecessarily drawn to protect Brown, and District 10 held by Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, which "was drawn to benefit the Republican Party and the incumbent."

    Lewis determined GOP lawmakers, staffers and consultants worked together behind the scenes to draw Republican-friendly seats, writing there was "too much circumstantial evidence of it, too many coincidences" to uphold the maps.

    Lewis found Republicans had "made a mockery of the Legislature's proclaimed open and transparent process" by working to draw partisan maps "in the shadow of that process."

    Read more on the case and Lewis’ decision here.