The Supreme Court issued two notable redistricting-related opinions in June and issued orders in two other related cases.
Allen v. Milligan and Allen v. Caster
The two cases out of Alabama (Milligan and Caster) were argued together on October 4, 2022 and concerned whether Alabama’s 2021 redistricting plan violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. On June 8 the Supreme Court issued an opinion affirming the district court’s finding that plaintiffs had proved a reasonable likelihood that Alabama’s Congressional map likely violated §2 of the Voting Rights Act. Several conservative and libertarian voices blasted the opinion (here, here, here, here, here, and here), but some liberal court watchers were also concerned with the court’s trajectory regarding the VRA.
Moore v. Harper
The question in Moore v. Harper was whether a state court may nullify legislatively enacted regulations for the manner of holding elections and replace them with regulations of the court’s own devising. SCOTUS requested supplemental briefing in the case on two separate occasions and issued an opinion on June 27 upholding state court’s ability to review election law changes, but for the first time acknowledged that state courts “do not have free rein” to go beyond the constitutional limits of judicial review.
A similar case out of Ohio (Huffman v. Neiman) also asked the court to weigh in on the question. SCOTUS vacated the opinion by the Ohio Supreme Court and remanded it back to Ohio for further consideration.
Harvard found that the 2020 redistricting benefitted Republicans, but raised alarms about the lack of competitiveness across the national landscape.
Governor Ivey called a special session for July 17th to repeal and replace Alabama’s congressional map. The apportionment committee released a public hearing schedule. The federal district court has ordered a new map to be enacted by July 21st. Plaintiffs submitted their proposed remedies.
Kentucky’s Supreme Court is set to consider if Kentucky’s constitution limits gerrymandering.
A federal judge will not rule on Boston’s new city council map.
Republicans decided not to litigate over the state’s new legislative maps.
The state Supreme Court allowed a GOP lawsuit against the congressional map to move forward and laid out a test for a lower court to apply to determine whether the map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.
Democrats still hope for a permission slip from New York’s judiciary to reimpose a new version of their unconstitutional gerrymander ahead of 2024. Lawyers for the Harkenrider petitioners filed a notice of supplemental authority in the ongoing litigation.
The Utah Supreme Court will soon consider a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.
Democrats and liberal groups plan to bring new redistricting challenges soon after Janet Protasiewicz is sworn in on August 1.
New filings are available for more than 20 active cases.