supreme-court

Supreme Court decisions could affect makeup of Congress for years
Redistricting, census questions among big-ticket items left on docket

The Supreme Court will issue decisions in the next two weeks that could have lasting effects on congressional representation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court faces decisions during its last two weeks of the term that could influence congressional districts for the next decade and make the justices an even larger topic in the 2020 presidential campaign.

The court left its most consequential and politically contentious opinions for the end of the term, as it tends to do every year. The justices on Monday will release some of the 24 decisions yet to come before the end of June.

Why the Grim Reaper thing works for Mitch McConnell
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 76

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has his own way of doing things, to the consternation of his political foes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mitch McConnell is an extraordinarily successful politician, despite lacking what might be described as traditional attributes of a public official.

The Senate majority leader pursues his policy goals with metronomic unflashiness. He is almost proudly uncharismatic, brandishing his fuddy-duddyism as a boy scout might display a merit badge.

‘Case closed!’ Trump declares, even as Mueller fires warning shot on obstruction
Special counsel says if he had found no evidence of presidential crimes, he would have said that ‘clearly’

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seen on a monitor in the Russell Building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, making a statement at the Department of Justice on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News listens in the background. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:21 p.m. | “The case is closed!” President Donald Trump declared minutes after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III formally concluded his investigation — even though the former FBI director fired a shot directly across the president’s bow.

Mueller on Wednesday delivered his first spoken public words in two years, saying his investigation was never going to end with indicting the 45th president because such a move would be “unconstitutional” due to Justice Department guidelines that prohibit it. What’s more, Mueller repeated what his 448-page report did: That he and his team did not conclude that Trump committed no crimes — a potential signal to House Democrats that he favors impeachment proceedings.

Justices decline to uphold Indiana abortion ban on basis of disability, race and gender
The provision came from a 2016 law signed into law by then-Gov. Mike Pence

Activists hold up signs at an abortion-rights rally at Supreme Court in Washington to protest new state bans on abortion services on May 21, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned an appeals court ruling striking down an Indiana law that set requirements for the disposal of fetal remains.

But the court refused to hear a case challenging a separate part of the law banning abortion on the basis of genetic characteristics such as disability, race and gender. That leaves the lower court’s ruling striking down that language in place for now. 

Supreme Court delays redrawing of Ohio and Michigan House districts
Lower-court rulings found partisan gerrymandering, ordered new maps within months

The Supreme Court on Friday put on hold orders from lower courts for Michigan and Ohio to redraw their congressional maps.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday put a hold on lower-court decisions mandating that Ohio and Michigan draw new congressional maps this year.  

Federal three-judge panels had struck down portions of Michigan’s map and all of Ohio’s map as partisan gerrymanders in separate cases earlier this spring. The court ordered Michigan to draw a new map by Aug. 1, while the Ohio was given a June 14 deadline.

‘I’ll be here a lot,’ Trump says of Pennsylvania in safe GOP district
President weighs in on special election after Biden kicks off campaign in Keystone State

Supporters of President Donald Trump, pose for a picture while waiting to enter his rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. — Air Force One landed here Monday evening ahead of a special House election as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared inside an airport hangar. Minutes later, with Air Force One parked in front of small tree-lined peaks, President Donald Trump issued a thunderous endorsement of a GOP House candidate and attack on Democrats.

And repeatedly, the friendly audience showered Trump with chants of “four more years!” And during one rare quiet moment, a man shouted, “We love you, Trump!” Minutes later, the entire crowd, which did not quite fill the hangar, shouted in unison, “We love Trump!”

Legal battle heats up as more states test strict abortion bans
Other states are already pursuing and defending laws to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy

Pro-choice protesters shout at pro-life protesters outside of the Supreme Court June 26, 2018. Alabama’s new abortion law, which would essentially ban abortion in most cases, could open the door to restrictions in other states — even though they will all likely be challenged in court. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates are preparing for a legal battle after Alabama passed the strictest abortion bill in the country late Tuesday, part of a growing national push by abortion opponents to test whether the courts will curb constitutional protections for the procedure.

Alabama’s move, which would essentially ban abortion in most cases, could open the door to restrictions in other states — even though they will all likely be challenged in court. Other states are already pursuing and defending laws to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

White House to Judiciary Chairman Nadler: ‘How about you pass a bill?’
‘We will subpoena whoever we have to subpoena,’ Nadler vows as legal war escalates

The White House and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler are at war over his requests for information from and testimony by Trump administration officials past and present. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has a message for House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler: Pass a bill — any bill — rather than trying to “replicate” Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s Russia election meddling probe.

In a letter to Nadler and a subsequent call with reporters, White House officials charged the New York Democrat with “political theater” by continuing to investigate the Russian interference campaign and possible connections to the 2016 Trump-Pence campaign, as well as whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice — a crime — since taking office.

Supreme Court requests response from Ohio and Michigan gerrymander challengers
Justices give challengers a week to respond to requests from GOP state officials to stop court-ordered redrawing of district lines

Anti-gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court in March 2018 as the justices prepare to hear a case challenging Maryland’s congressional map. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday gave the challengers of congressional maps in Ohio and Michigan until May 20 to respond to requests from state officials to stop court-ordered redrawing of district lines. Lower courts found the maps were partisan gerrymanders, an issue the high court is now considering in two other cases.

Republican lawmakers and officials in both states had argued that they did not have enough time to comply with recent federal court mandates to redraw their districts by June 14 in Ohio and Aug. 1 in Michigan.

Who’s afraid of political gerrymandering?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 71

Anti-gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as justices prepare to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The case challenged Maryland's 2012 Congressional redistricting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political gerrymandering is losing friends fast, at least in the courts. Ohio and Michigan recently got smacked by federal judges for rigging the maps in favor of Republicans. At the same time, the Supreme Court could decide next month whether Maryland and North Carolina drew unconstitutional gerrymandered maps to favor Democrats and Republicans, respectively.  Why all the interest all of a sudden in such an esoteric part of politics? CQ Roll Call campaign reporters Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin are our guides through the maze of maps on the latest Political Theater podcast.