Tag Archives: Equal Protection

Do Arizonans believe in equal rights for all Arizonans, or not? Give HB 2586 a vote

Since at least 1994, to the best of my recollection, a bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature to amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to include protections for the LGBTQ community. (Many Arizonans falsely believe that such protections already exist). As I recall, there may have been one year the bill actually got a committee vote — and was defeated — but almost every year the bill does not even get a hearing in the GOP-controlled Arizona legislature.

This remains true even after the U.S. Supreme Court and the Arizona Supreme Court have recognized equal protection for same-sex marriages, and same-sex spouses have the same parental rights as opposite-sex spouses under Arizona law.  Another lawsuit enjoined a 2009 statute that made domestic partners of state employees ineligible for health benefits.

Too many Arizona Republicans resist “the arc of the moral universe [that] bends towards justice,” under “a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a Union that could be and should be perfected over time.”

To paraphrase Joseph Welch, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, GOP legislators, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

The GOP-controlled Arizona legislature is, once again, kowtowing to the hateful lobbyist for religious bigots, Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, whose undue influence over the Arizona legislature makes her “Arizona’s 31st Senator.” It’s time to revoke her status.

The Arizona Republic reports, Bill to bar discrimination against LGBT people can’t get a hearing:

For the first time ever, a proposal to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in Arizona has gained support from a Republican in the Legislature, along with GOP municipal leaders.

But that doesn’t appear to be enough to get a hearing at the Capitol.

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Partisan gerrymandering cases headed to the U.S. Supreme Court

There has been a lot happening in partisan gerrymandering lawsuits lately, and luckily Rick Hasen at Elction Law Blog has put together a summary of where these cases stand today that will save me a lot of time. The State of Play on Partisan Gerrymandering Cases at the Supreme Court:

Back in 2004 the Supreme Court in Vieth v. Jublelirer split 4-1-4 over what to do about claims that partisan gerrymandering violates the U.S. Constitution. Four Justices said it was non-justiciable, four Justices said it was justiciable and raised a variety of challenges, and Justice Kennedy, in the middle, agreed with the Court’s liberals that the cases were justiciable, but agreed with the Court’s conservatives that the proposed standards didn’t work.  He essentially told everyone to keep working on the issue and come back, maybe looking at the First Amendment, maybe history, and maybe computers.  The cases at or coming to the Court seek to satisfy Justice Kennedy in various ways.

Here’s the state of play; the Supreme Court heard argument in October in Gill v. Whitford involving a challenge to state legislative districts in Wisconsin. Gill raises a partisan gerrymandering challenge under the Equal Protection Clause, and the McGhee/Stephanopoulos “efficiency gap” figured in (but was not the entire basis) for the analysis. Last month, the Court somewhat surprisingly also agreed to hear full argument in Beniske v. Lamone, a case challenging a Maryland congressional district as a partisan gerrymander under the First Amendment. I explained in this LA Times piece why the Court might have agreed to full argument in Benisek v. Lamone. Argument in the Maryland case will be later in the Spring.

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Texas racial gerrymandering, Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering headed to SCOTUS

Slate has a good summary of the decision of the federal district court for Texas on Thursday that, once again, struck down the district lines drawn by the Texas legislature for intentional racial discrimination. Federal Court: Texas Intentionally Gerrymandered Its Districts to Dilute Minority Votes:

On Thursday, a three-judge federal court ruled that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing its state House district map in 2011. The decision follows a similar ruling by the same court in March holding that Texas also drew its federal congressional districts in an effort to dilute minority votes. Thursday’s ruling marks the third time in recent weeks that the federal judiciary has found Texas to have intentionally burdened its Hispanic voters.

The majority attached a 151-page findings of fact to its already lengthy opinion, reflecting careful analysis of Texas’ gerrymander that will be difficult for the Supreme Court to ignore on appeal. In short, the court found that Texas legislators drew multiple House districts that diluted Hispanics’ votes, a violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The court also found that the legislature had engaged in race-based gerrymandering, which similarly runs afoul of equal protection and the VRA. Finally, the court concluded that the House map violated the one person, one vote principle by creating districts within unequal populations, another Equal Protection infringement.

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