The Oldest Blog
A first amendment blog for school administrators and attorneys.
The Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Allen v. Milligan today, a Voting Rights Act case involving several challenges to Alabama’s 2020 redistricting plan. Thompson & Horton may do a deeper review of the decision later, but in the meanwhile, as many sources in the media are reporting, the decision by a combination of the three liberal justices (Kagan, Sotomayor and Jackson), Chief Justice Roberts (who wrote the opinion), and Justice Kavanaugh (for the most part) surprisingly upheld the lower court’s decision that Alabama’s 2020 redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”).
While the decision contains a good summary of the VRA and its implementing cases, and addresses a number of innovative arguments raised by Alabama (particularly involving the use of new computer software that allows millions of districting maps to be generated and compared), the ultimate outcome of Allen v. Milligan is that it does not really change anything:
Justice Kavanaugh is now the ironic hero of the left. He did not join one small part of the majority opinion (section III-B-1), but I’m not really sure why. Justice Kavanaugh wrote separately to emphasize four things, that he thought were important, but his disagreement with section III-B-1 was not one of them.
For those who worry that the current Court appears to have little difficulty ignoring prior Supreme Court precedent, Justice Kavanaugh emphasized his differentiation between “statutory stare decisis” (which he says is subject to a “comparatively strict” standard) and “constitutional stare decisis” (i.e. overruling previous Supreme Court decisions like Roe v. Wade that are not based on statutory language). This may also be a significant impact of this decision.