It was a busy week at the Supreme Court.
The justices agreed to hear two cases with significant political implications.
- The first case, Alexander v. South Carolina Conference of the NAACP, is a dispute over the apportionment of South Carolina’s congressional districts. State officials are asking the Court to reinstate a voting map that a lower court said had unconstitutionally divided predominantly-Black neighborhoods in a “stark racial gerrymander.” The lower court said that the gerrymander “exiled” over “30,000 African Americans…from their home district.” “State legislators are free to consider a broad array of factors in the design of a legislative district, including partisanship, but they may not use race as a predominant factor and may not use partisanship as a proxy for race,” the three-judge panel in the district court wrote. In their appeal to the Supreme Court, state legislators argue that they sought to ensure “a stronger Republican tilt” via the district apportionment, but they rejected the notion that divisions were made based on race.
- The second case, Carnahan v. Maloney, is a dispute over whether members of Congress have the ability to bring lawsuits against executive agencies. The Biden administration petitioned the Court in this case, which stems from a 2017 request made by members of the House Oversight Committee to the General Services Administration for information about an agreement a company that is partially owned by Trump made to lease the Old Post Office in Washington. Once the GSA declined to provide documents, the House Committee members filed the lawsuit. The district court dismissed the case, arguing that the members lacked Article III standing to sue the agency. However, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the decision and reinstated the proceedings.
Also this week, the Supreme Court issued a number of orders and opinions.
- The justices left in place an Illinois ban on the sale of assault weapons — refusing to temporarily block the restrictions while lower courts consider a challenge to the statute.
- The Court also shielded Twitter from liability for content on its platform that challengers argued promoted terrorism. In a similar case, the justices declined to make a determination on Google’s liability for terror-related content and sent the case back down to the circuit court.
- In a 7-2 decision, the justices ruled that artist Andy Warhol infringed on a photographer’s copyright when Warhol created artwork based on a picture of the singer Prince.
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