By Jake Kaplan

Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:

The Supreme Court reinstated an Alabama voting map, which a lower court said discriminated against Black voters.

  • Ahead of the forthcoming congressional elections, the Alabama legislature created a redistricting plan to apportion the state’s seven seats in the House of Representatives. Last month, a district court ruled that the new map “dilute[s] the votes of Black Alabamians” in violation of the Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting procedures.
  • The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote (with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the Court’s liberal bloc in dissent), has now frozen the district court’s order, restored the state’s proposed map, and scheduled oral argument for the fall.
  • In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan argued that the Court should hear oral arguments in the case before making such a ruling, and that “[a]ccepting Alabama’s contentions would rewrite decades of [the] Court’s precedents about Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” Kagan also wrote that the Court’s decision does a “disservice to Black Alabamians who…have had their electoral power diminished.”
  • In his concurrence, Justice Brett Kavanaugh argued that the Court’s decision only freezes the lower court order for further review and does not change the law. Kavanaugh also maintained that the district court order would create “chaos and confusion” in requiring “heroic efforts” by election officials to redraw the state’s voting maps.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell broke ranks with the Republican National Committee by calling the January 6th attack at the Capitol a “violent insurrection.”

  • Last week, the Republican National Committee censured Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for their involvement in the House select committee investigation into January 6th. The RNC criticized Cheney and Kinzinger for “sabotag[ing]” the party, and for contributing to “Democrat efforts to destroy President Trump.”
  • The resolution decried the Committee’s work as “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” Preet and Joyce discussed the resolution on this week’s episode of CAFE Insider.
  • Many Republicans in Congress have avoided discussing the censure. However, McConnell rebuked the resolution and said that the attack was “a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next.” 
  • Republican Senator Mitt Romney also spoke out against the censure. “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol,” Romney tweeted. Romney is the uncle of Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Week In a Nutshell is part of the free weekly CAFE Brief newsletter. 

Sign up free to receive the CAFE Brief in your inbox every Friday: