Illustration of gavel being passed between pair of hands, credit Sam Whitney, The New York Times


Wednesday October 25, 2023

10.25.23Carlos Aguilar

Why it matters that a Black Woman argued the most important redistricting case of the year before the Supreme Court

More Of This

Leah Aden of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, credit NBC News, Legal Defense Fund 1

During Leah Aden’s first oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in a redistricting case that critics have branded “textbook” racial gerrymandering, several justices peppered the attorney with rapid-fire, probing questions about South Carolina’s contested congressional map. 

Yet Aden, senior counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, or LDF, didn’t flinch. 

“I’ve always wanted to do impact work,” said Aden, who argued Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, a case whose outcome will determine South Carolina’s congressional map and could have larger implications on the 2024 election. “I’ve lived with this case from the ground up.”

Read the rest on NBC News

The lawyer who orchestrated the right’s Supreme Court supermajority

Less Of This

Leonard Leo illustrationl, credit Nate Sweitzer for ProPublica

THE PARTY GUESTS who arrived on the evening of June 23, 2022, at the Tudor-style mansion on the coast of Maine were a special group in a special place enjoying a special time. The attendees included some two dozen federal and state judges — a gathering that required U.S. marshals with earpieces to stand watch while a Coast Guard boat idled in a nearby cove.

Caterers served guests Pol Roger reserve, Winston Churchill’s favorite Champagne, a fitting choice for a group of conservative legal luminaries who had much to celebrate. The Supreme Court’s most recent term had delivered a series of huge victories with the possibility of a crowning one still to come. The decadeslong campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade, which a leaked draft opinion had said was “egregiously wrong from the start,” could come to fruition within days, if not hours.

Over dinner courses paired with wines chosen by the former food and beverage director of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., the 70 or so attendees jockeyed for a word with the man who had done as much as anyone to make this moment possible: their host, Leonard Leo.

Read the rest on Pro Publica

SCOTUS is seriously considering whether domestic abusers have the right to own a gun

Speaking Of…

Hundreds of people wear orange and march across Brooklyn Bridge in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day on, June 3, 2023, credit Selcuk Acar, Anadolu Agency, Getty Images

The next gun rights case before the Supreme Court, United States v. Rahimi, involves an individual that no sensible society would allow to have a gun.

Three years ago, according to the Justice Department, Zackey Rahimi and his girlfriend had an argument in a parking lot where Rahimi threatened to take away their mutual child. He then allegedly grabbed her wrist, knocked her to the ground, dragged her to the car, and hit her head on the dashboard. After he realized that a witness had seen this fight, Rahimi allegedly pulled a gun and fired at this bystander.

He later called his girlfriend and allegedly threatened to shoot her if she told anyone that he’d assaulted her.

Read the rest on Vox

Appoint more judges. Fast.


Illustration of gavel being passed between pair of hands, credit Sam Whitney, The New York Times

Erwin Chemerinsky is the dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley.

With the outcome of the 2024 elections for the president and control of the Senate very much up in the air, Democrats must make a concerted effort to fill federal judicial vacancies before next November.

Republicans did this very effectively before the end of the Trump presidency, leaving few vacancies for President Biden to fill when he took office. Now the Democrats must emulate that approach. And they must do so now.

At the moment, there are two vacancies without nominees on appeals courts and 37 on district courts. Because the evaluation process of nominees takes time, it is imperative that the Biden administration quickly name nominees to those and future vacancies. The Senate then must work expeditiously to confirm those deemed suitable for the lifetime appointments.

Read the rest on NY Times