President's weekly report — October 17, 2014
Equality Under the Law Project — Alabama redistricting
We filed this amicus brief at the United States Supreme Court in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, a consolidated case where plaintiffs are challenging that state’s most recent redistricting as “racial gerrymandering.” It gets complicated, but part of the reason why race was a factor was because the state had to comply with the since-overturned section V of the Voting Rights Act, which required preclearance of restricting plans and forbade “retrogression” of minority representation. As our brief puts it:
These cases concern the interplay between this Court’s racial gerrymandering cases, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Equal Protection Clause. The first permits consideration of race in redistricting, the second requires it, and the third forbids it.
Our amicus brief explains that the Equal Protect Clause requires that courts should strictly construe the use of race, whenever it is a factor. For more on this, see our blog.
California’s Cap and Trade tax at the Court of Appeal
We filed our opening brief in Morning Star Packing Company v. California Air Resources Board, our challenge to the billions upon billions of dollars in cap and trade taxes being imposed on Californians. The bottom line is that while the legislature may have called for the use of market-based mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gasses, it did not intend for its law to become a defacto tax, taking many billions of dollars out of the pockets of Californians. But that’s exactly what the Board did — it has adopted an auction system that is raising billions for general revenues. The trouble is, this tax was adopted after Proposition 13 was enacted. And since “A.B. 32” passed with only a simple majority, and since it is for all practical purposes a massive tax measure, it violates Prop. 13. For a bit more see our video and blog post.
Obamacare: Government opposes request for rehearing
In Sissel v. United States Department of Health & Human Services, our Origination Clause challenge to Obamacare, the Federal Government filed its opposition brief to our petition for rehearing en banc today—one week early. You can read more about it on our blog post here. We’re also happy to report that Texas and twelve other states filed an amicus brief in support of our petition for rehearing. As that brief put it:
Given that federal courts are obligated [by Supreme Court precedent] to adjudicate claims under the Origination Clause, federal courts must give meaningful effect to the constitutional provision—rather than reading it, as defendants would, to be a “meaningless and formalistic rule.” If the Origination Clause means anything, it must mean that the [Affordable Care Act] is unconstitutional.
California Supreme Court: Full Steam Ahead on the California Choo-Choondoggle.