What’s Going to Happen with a Challenge to North Carolina’s Congressional District Partisan Gerrymander? Two Significant Hurdles to a Lawsuit.

from Election Law Blog Democrats are now pondering a state court challenge to North Carolina’s partisan gerrymandering of the state’s 13 congressional districts, following a state court ruling that the state legislative districts are a partisan gerrymander. The U.S. Supreme Court in the Rucho case rejected a challenge to North Carolina’s congressional districts based on the U.S. constitution but that would not preclude a state constitutional challenge. But there are two significant hurdles. More here.

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‘Corporations Are People’ Is Built on an Incredible 19th-Century Lie

from The Atlantic Somewhat unintuitively, American corporations today enjoy many of the same rights as American citizens. Both, for instance, are entitled to the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. How exactly did corporations come to be understood as “people” bestowed with the most fundamental constitutional rights? The answer can be found in a bizarre—even farcical—series of lawsuits over 130 years ago involving a lawyer who lied to the Supreme Court, an ethically challenged justice, and one of the most powerful corporations of the day. That corporation was the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, owned by the robber baron […]

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How Computers Turned Gerrymandering Into a Science

from NYTs About as many Democrats live in Wisconsin as Republicans do. But you wouldn’t know it from the Wisconsin State Assembly, where Republicans hold 65 percent of the seats, a bigger majority than Republican legislators enjoy in conservative states like Texas and Kentucky. The United States Supreme Court is trying to understand how that happened. On Tuesday, the justices heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, reviewing a three-judge panel’s determination that Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn district map is so flagrantly gerrymandered that it denies Wisconsinites their full right to vote. A long list of elected officials, representing both parties, have […]

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America Might See A New Constitutional Convention In A Few Years

from The Economist THE I’s had been dotted; the T’s were crossed. The 55 delegates to America’s first and so-far-only constitutional convention had hammered out compromises on the separation of powers, apportionment of seats in the legislature and the future of the slave trade. But on September 15th 1787 George Mason, a plantation owner from Virginia, rose to his feet to object. Article V of the draft text laid out two paths by which future amendments could be proposed. Congress could either propose them itself, or it could summon a convention of representatives from the states to propose them. Mason […]

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Request Denied: States Try To Block Access To Public Records

from AP In February, Arkansas lawmakers marked the 50-year anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act with a resolution calling it “a shining example of open government” that had ensured access to vital public records for generations. They spent the following weeks debating and, in many cases approving, new exemptions to the law in what critics called an unprecedented attack on the public’s right to know. When they were finished, universities could keep secret all information related to their police forces, including their size and the names and salaries of officers. Public schools could shield a host of facts related […]

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Gill v. Whitford: Gerrymandering at the Supreme Court

from Brennan Center With Gill v. Whitford, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken the most important case in decades dealing with how Americans are represented in Congress and state legislatures. The case focuses on a Wisconsin legislative map drawn in 2011 by the state’s Republican leadership to give their party a significant, enduring partisan advantage ? essentially, to keep their party in power regardless of the will of the voters. By striking down the state’s map, the Court could finally draw a clear line indicating that some partisan gerrymanders are so extreme and harmful to American democracy as to be unconstitutional. With […]

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