Supreme Court

Political Gerrymandering: Is There a Math Test for That?
Supreme Court may consider whether practice is unconstitutional

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in a North Carolina racial gerrymandering case and may take on a Wisconsin case this fall that involves partisan gerrymanders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Racial gerrymanders have been undone many times, most recently when the Supreme Court ruled against a pair of North Carolina congressional districts this week. But another case from that same state, heading into federal court next month, has a shot at eventually persuading the justices to do what they’ve never done before: strike down an election map as an unconstitutionally partisan gerrymander.

The high court ruled three decades ago that it may be unconstitutional to draw political boundaries so that one party was sure to win a disproportionate number of elections, but it’s never come up with a means for deciding when such mapmaking has become too extreme.

Opinion: Democrats May Be Too Optimistic About 2018 Gains
Ghosts of racial discord still haunt the South

Congressional districts in North Carolina were too racially driven even for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina turned out to be too racially driven for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives — with Justice Clarence Thomas siding with the majority.

Who’d have thought it?

Michael Flynn Gets Another Chance From Intelligence Committee
Panel seems ready to hold him in contempt of Congress

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., want to give Michael Flynn one more chance to cooperate with their probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Intelligence Committee is giving former national security adviser Michael Flynn another chance to produce documents about his interactions with Russian officials, even as the panel’s leaders are sending signals that they are unafraid to hold him in contempt of Congress.

The committee leadership has now sent a letter questioning the claim by Flynn and his lawyers that he can use the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination to avoid producing documents subpoenaed by the panel.

Supreme Court Affirms Ban on ‘Soft Money’ in Campaigns
Opponents of ban say they will take concerns to Congress

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., applauded the high court's decision to let a lower court's ruling on the case stand. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the so-called soft money ban on state and local parties, prompting opponents of the restriction to turn their pleas for repeal to Congress.

Although proponents of political money limits cheered the decision, they said that new Justice Neil Gorsuch’s position on the case confirmed their fears about his campaign finance views.

Supreme Court Rejects Two Black-Majority N.C. Districts
High court upholds lower court ruling on improper use of race in redistricting

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that North Carolina state lawmakers improperly used race to alter the 1st District, represented by Rep. G.K. Butterfield. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that North Carolina unconstitutionally used race to draw two congressional districts with substantial increases of black voters, in a voting rights case that could influence how states can consider race when redistricting.

The justices found that a lower court correctly decided that state lawmakers used race as the predominant factor in significantly altering the 1st and 12th congressional districts, held by Democratic Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Alma Adams, respectively, both African-Americans.

Opinion: Trump Policies on Voting and Criminal Justice Quietly Move Country Backward
Plans proceed despite chaos in the White House

President Donald Trump’s policies threaten voting rights and criminal justice reforms, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the Trump administration is in a state of perpetual turmoil, some of its promised policies are proceeding as planned. Support from a Republican Congress is softening with each cringe-worthy headline about slips, leaks and feuds; still, its members, mindful of the president’s loyal base, are proceeding with caution.

And when you step back from the chaos, don’t expect to see any progress on other issues — such as voting rights and criminal justice reform — that once promised a bit of bipartisan cooperation. 

Cornyn Withdraws From Consideration as FBI Director
Majority Whip says the best way he can serve is by remaining in the Senate

Cornyn was interviewed for the FBI director job. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Cornyn has taken himself out of consideration to be the next F.B.I. director, he informed President Donald Trump’s administration Tuesday.

The Texas Republican said in a statement that the best place for him to serve is in the Senate.

A Senator Out of His Shell, and Under Trump’s Skin
Connecticut’s Blumenthal at the center of opposition to president

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal makes his way through the Senate subway in the Capitol after a meeting of Senate Democrats on May 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Of the 157 tweets President Donald Trump has sent in the last month alone, just six have singled out individuals for ridicule. And half of those have been directed at Richard Blumenthal.

The senior senator from Connecticut, who’s made reticence and prudence the guideposts of his first four decades in political life, is projecting a very different sort of persona these days. While presenting himself in public as quietly as ever, he’s become one of president’s most incisive Democratic antagonists on an array of topics.

Supreme Court Won’t Revive North Carolina Voter ID Law
‘Racially discriminatory intent’

Tourists walk on the plaza of the Supreme Court on April 11, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a voting rights case out of North Carolina, leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state’s photo identification requirement and other election changes as motivated by “racially discriminatory intent.”

The fight over the North Carolina law — and the explanation of Chief Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to let the lower court’s ruling stand — reflects the deeply divided political culture in the Tar Heel State.

Strange Touts Role in Resignation of Governor Who Appointed Him
Senator’s role as Alabama attorney general in two prominent cases is questioned after he touts them in ad

The new ad from Strange shows actors representing politicians getting hosed down in a car wash. Credit: Screenshot

Sen. Luther Strange's new campaign ad leads with an image of politicians writhing in pain while getting sprayed down while standing in a car wash. According to the voiceover, this symbolizes Strange cleaning up corruption in Montgomery, Ala. during his time as state attorney general. 

But in the two primary cases cited by Strange — the resignation of Gov. Robert Bentley and the prosecution of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard — his role was more ambiguous.