The Supreme Court is Getting Ready to Rock-N-Roll

In case you hadn’t noticed, the U.S. Supreme Court is back in session. For a quick preview of the many blockbuster cases on the calendar this session, you might want to take in this Law 360 Pro Say Podcast: https://www.law360.com/in-depth/articles/967263?nl_pk=12824ff8-eeda-4c14-bbd7-cadc7f92d867&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=in-depth (If you do not know how to activate your Law 360 access, contact Brian Huffman!)

The Court is already underway with the Notorious RGB leveraging a constitutional smack down on new Justice Neil Gorsuch in Gill v. Whitford (a/k/a the partisan gerrymandering case). Attorney Smith was answering Justice Ginsburg question on how redistricting laws created one party rule in some states. Justice Gorsuch interrupted and diverted attention away from an equal protection argument to a Republican form of government clause theory supported by constitutional textualism. Justice Gorsuch said:

“… where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines? When the Constitution authorizes the federal government to step in on state – state legislative matters, it’s pretty clear.  If you look at the Fifteenth Amendment, you look at the Nineteenth Amendment, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, and even the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2, says Congress has the power, when state legislators don’t provide the right to vote equally, to dilute congressional representation. Aren’t those all textual indications in the Constitution itself that maybe we ought to be cautious about stepping in here?” – Gill v. Whitford transcript, page 59, courtesy of Scotus.

Justice Ginsburg intervened in the Gorsuch/Smith back and forth asking the Court:  Where did one person/one vote come from? She was referring to the 1963 Reynolds v. Sims Supreme Court decision. One person/one vote was read into the Constitution by Chief Justice Earl Warren and it is not in the Constitutional document itself, upending Justice Gorsuch’s textualism argument.  You can actually listen to the oral arguments on the Oyez website!

Wowza!  The Supreme Court is getting ready to rock-n-roll!

I know you want to keep track of all the exciting Supreme Court happenings. Here is a short list of some of my favorite Supreme Court resources. NB: If is it marked with $$$, it indicates that this is a subscription database so you will either need a username and password, or perhaps proxy access if you are trying to open the page from off campus.

BTW, the NYT has a good article on the “new math” of gerrymandering and how you might measure the effect of redistricting using one method called the “efficiency gap.”

Daily News

Lyle Dennison Law News, http://lyldenlawnews.com/

New York Times Supreme Court News Page: https://www.nytimes.com/topic/organization/us-supreme-court $$$

iScotus Now, http://blogs.kentlaw.iit.edu/iscotus/

Scotus Blog, http://www.scotusblog.com/

Supreme Court Brief, http://www.nationallawjournal.com/supremecourtbrief $$$

Supreme Court Dispatches, Slate News, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/supreme_court_dispatches.html

 

More General Coverage

Appellate, http://www.law.com/practice-areas/appellate $$$

BloombergLaw, United States Law Week, $$$

Reuters Supreme Court News, http://www.reuters.com/subjects/supreme-court

NPR Stories About the Supreme Court: http://www.npr.org/tags/125938785/supreme-court

Oyez, https://www.oyez.org, Providing the facts of the case, question presented and conclusion for all cases beginning in 1789.  Oyez also has select audio coverage of oral arguments.

Washington Post’s Courts and the Law: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts-law/?utm_term=.c9df6c046334,

Supreme Court web site, https://www.supremecourt.gov/

 

Deeper Analysis

Merits, from Scotus Blog, http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/terms/ot2017 – you might also be interested in their stats pack page: http://www.scotusblog.com/statistics/

Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases (via Hein),  Eight issues a year analyzing the court’s decisions.

1)  http://heinonline.org/HOL/Index?index=previewa&collection=preview $$$

2)  Via the ABA web site: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/publications/preview_home.html

3) Westlaw, http://lawschool.westlaw.com $$$

Freedom of Information Acts: A double-edged sword in a time of emotional and political unrest

In the legal academy, a petition was circulated among law professors last month that opposed the appointment of Jeff Sessions nomination to be our next attorney general.  There were nearly 1500 signatures.  The petition and its signatories are found here:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/167Ci3pVqwzOUe7_e7itlpew1qGcTo0ZD5dNICIbLQWA/pub.

This month, a reporter working for a conservative political publication relied on the Open Records Act to obtain “a copy of each email (inbound, outbound, deleted, or double deleted) for the university email accounts of Professor Andrea A. Curcio at the University of Georgia and [a colleague who also signed the letter] from the dates of December 15, 2016, to and including January 3, 2017, which includes any of the keywords “Sessions,” or “Jeff Sessions” or “Attorney General.” According the press accounts, similar requests was received by university counsel for law professor signatories working at other public institutions.

The publication is relying on the state versions, what is commonly referred to as open records laws.  Some states label them open information laws or public information acts.  In Hawaii, our version is codified at Haw. Rev. Stat. 92F.  Regardless of what the popular name of the law is, the concept is the same:  public employees are subject to the same open records laws as every other public employee in his state or open information laws that make emails and other written documentation of agencies and individuals who work for those agencies subject to public inspection.