The US Supreme Court [official website] agreed Tuesday to rule in a major voter equality case, noting jurisdiction [order list, PDF] in Evenwel v. Abbott [docket; jurisdictional statement, PDF]. The question presented is: “whether the ‘one-person, one-vote’ principle of the Fourteenth Amendment creates a judicially enforceable right ensuring that the districting process does not deny voters an equal vote.” The case concerns Texas’ redistricting scheme. A three-judge panel for the US District Court for the Western District of Texas dismissed [opinion, PDF] the voters’ claims that their votes would count less than if they were in other districts.
The court also granted certiorari in two cases Tuesday. In Foster v. Humphrey [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will decide whether the “Georgia courts err[ed] in failing to recognize race discrimination … in the extraordinary circumstances of this death penalty case.” The case involves a black defendant and a white victim. The state of Georgia struck all four black prospective jurors, and the prosecution’s notes later revealed that the prospective jurors had been identified and labeled as black. The Georgia courts found no race discrimination.
In Lockhart v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will consider 18 USC § 2252(b)(2) [text], which requires a district court to impose a prison term of at least 10 years on a defendant convicted of possessing child pornography if he “has a prior conviction … under the laws of any State relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward.” The question presented is: “whether § 2252(b)(2)’s mandatory minimum sentence is triggered by a prior conviction under a state law relating to ‘aggravated sexual abuse’ or ‘sexual abuse,’ even though the conviction did not “involv[e] a minor or ward.'” The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found “that § 2252(b)(2) does not require that a prior state‐law aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse conviction involve a minor.” There is a circuit split on the issue.