The US Supreme Court [official website] hear oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Wednesday. In Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on Alabama’s redistricting [JURIST backgrounder] plans. The question before the court is “Whether Alabama’s legislative redistricting plans unconstitutionally classify black voters by race by intentionally packing them in districts designed to maintain supermajority percentages produced when 2010 census data are applied to the 2001 majority-black districts.” The US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama ruled [opinion] that the state’s redistricting plans violated neither the Voting Rights Act nor the Constitution. At oral argument Wednesday, the court appeared divided over the issue, with some confusion about when race can appropriately be used in redistricting plans.
In Comptroller v. Wynne [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on whether the US Constitution prohibits a state from taxing all the income of its residents—wherever earned—by mandating a credit for taxes paid on income earned in other states. Maryland allows such a credit against its state income tax but not against its local county taxes. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled [opinion] this practice unconstitutional, and the state appealed.