Bethune-Hill v. VA Board of Elections

Posted: November 30, 2016 by beguide in case summaries, Election, Fantasy Supreme Court League, Uncategorized


WHAT HAPPENED:  After a census came back showing racial disparity in Virginia voting districts, the Virginia Electoral Board instituted a policy that required a required percentage of minority population in certain areas.  As is the case whenever someone tries to do something like this, people filed suit under the Equal Protection Clause under the always-popular argument that the Constitution protects white people against attempts to prevent discrimination.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  In essence, this is quintessential Supreme Court, as it brings the complicated tests from the Affirmative Action into the historically mismanaged realm of election redistricting.  This is kind of like when networks try to “cross-over” popular televisions shows, but instead of having the doctors of ER date Rachel and Monica from FRIENDS, this more like the episode of ALF where thousands of Virginia citizens because disenfranchised with the electoral process.  More accurately, this case determines whether the mechanics of drawing districts to accomplish a certain goal is OK when it prevents discrimination even though it’s not OK when it’s gerrymandering.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS:  (Sigh) I mean, does it even matter anymore?  On paper, this should be the perfect case for the Supreme Court to dive into, as it deals with racial disparity and voting, but it’s hard to see how anyone has the attention for this after the election.  This case would have made infinitely more sense last term, but who knows whether six months later people will still be as invested.  That’s all dancing around the fact that this feels like a classic 4-4 push that gets negated when another conservative justice is on the bench.  For now, this could help resolve some issues regarding district disparities, but it’s still pound-for-pound less interesting than McCrory v. Harris.

ROOT FOR BETHUNE-HILL IF- “This week on CSI:LA, Chris O’Donnell and Ice Cube need a particular set of skills to solve this week’s crime, so they turn to Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory!”

ROOT FOR VI BOARD OF ELECTORS IF – fairer voting practices is an issue you’ve read about, posted about, commented on, or got in a fight with someone about on social media.

PREDICTION – 4-4 push.


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