Sunday, March 16, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court News

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court is extremely likely to announce whether it will hear two election law cases:

1. Bartlett v Strickland, 07-689, a North Carolina districting case;
2. Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, 07-953, a case involving federal campaign finance laws

The North Carolina redistricting case concerns whether courts have authority under the federal Voting Rights Act to draw districts that have a very high proportion of Black voters, yet not quite 50% Black. The state had drawn such a district but the State Supreme Court had invalidated it.

The Citizens United case involves whether a commercial movie with a partisan impact on an upcoming election must be subject to campaign finance laws.

Both cases were on the U.S. Supreme Court’s conference on Friday, March 14. The Court generally reveals what it decided on the following Monday, although there is no guarantee.

The Court will be issuing full opinions this week. Pending are the Washington state “top-two” primary case, and the Indiana government photo ID law for voting at the polls. There is no guarantee that these two particular cases will be decided this week, of course.