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Reports from today's oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court explain that the justices kept their poker faces on when it came to partisan gerrymandering. Apart from Justices Sotomayor and Kagan's clearly anti-partisan gerrymandering line of questions, there didn't seem to be any indication of which side was winning.

The Benisek v. Lamone case is a little bit different than the Gil case which was heard last fall. One significant difference that has been getting quite a bit of attention is the fact that this case focuses on a gerrymander in favor of democrats, while Gil's gerrymandering favored republicans. Pundits posit that the High Court took up this case specifically to be able to rule on the issue of partisan gerrymandering without appearing political by letting each faction win (or lose) one case.

In a recent editorial opinion penned for the New York Times, retired United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens had a clear message for the youth of today: Repeal the Second Amendment.

Justice Stevens explains that repealing the Second Amendment is now the clearest path to undoing the impact of the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, which he believes was decided incorrectly. Heller effectively invalidated gun control legislation and held that there is an individual right to bear arms within the Second Amendment. Justice Stevens believes the Heller decision "has provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power."

Justice Alito, who presides over matters coming out of the Third Circuit, has rejected the appeal of Pennsylvania's GOP leaders over the state's High Court ruling requiring the overly Republican-friendly voting map be redrawn.

Challengers asserted that the court did not have the authority to redraw voting districts, but that only state legislatures could do so. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court disagreed with that position and denied the existence of a federal question, and the now U.S. Supreme Court refused to get involved, leaving the challengers with little else to do.

Remember the unbelievable D.C. v. Wesby civil rights case that involved a bunch of alleged trespassers and their host Peaches that got arrested while partying in a vacant house and then won $680, 000 (actually a cool million after attorney fees)? Well, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in this week, and those trespassing partygoers likely aren't going to be celebrating anymore, as the High Court just reversed and remanded the case.

Interestingly, where the district and appellate court found each of the proffered justifications for probable cause for arrest of the partygoers to be insufficient, SCOTUS saw the totality of the circumstances to be more than enough. Additionally, rubbing salt into the wounds (and case) of the partygoers, the Court found that the district and appellate courts' failure to find qualified immunity was a clear error.

Despite the fact that the judiciary basically redesigned itself to be the ultimate check and balance on governmental authority, when it comes to civil rights, the High Court apparently has not been particularly friendly. Constitutional scholars, including a federal district court judge, have been shouting from a lonely mountain top for some time now about the hostility of SCOTUS to sec. 1983 claims, but sadly, it seems that no one can hear them, or seems to care that the High Court keeps ruling in favor of the government in these claims.

Even the fan-favorite, Erwin Chemerinsky, has been warning of the civil rights doom and gloom at the Supreme Court, and recently wrote about how the Court has repeatedly limited Bivens claims, with the most recent Bivens limitation squashing the, once-hallmark, catchall aspect of the law.

While it is usually no shock when SCOTUS rejects highly controversial cases, that was not the case this week when it rejected the appeals in Barber v. Bryant, and Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant.

This pair of cases challenged Mississippi's controversial "religious freedom" law HB 1523, which permits individuals and businesses to deny service to LGBT individuals if the individual or business sincerely holds the beliefs or convictions that marriage should only be between a man and woman, that premarital sex is wrong, and/or that gender can only be determined by anatomy at birth.

One of the leading constitutional law scholars in the country, Erwin Chemerinsky, recently wrote a piece for the ABA Journal reflecting on the United States Supreme Court's 2017 term. Although the year was filled with big decision, he believes the biggest news of the year was the appointment and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch.

In addition to the controversial appointment, Chemerinsky explains that the term has seen some unusual interplay between the High Court and the new executive branch, right off the bat. Also, he notes that the Court actually handled issues of race and did so in unexpected fashion.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to add a handful of cases to their docket. Among the seven new cases is a familiar issue: partisan gerrymandering.

While the Gil v. Whitford case is still under submission, the High Court will hear a slightly different challenge to the practice of political parties gerrymandering voting districts after winning a controlling majority in a state's legislature. Gil dealt with an equal protection challenge, while the new case, Benisek v. Lamone, deals with a First Amendment challenge.

SCOTUS Won't Hear LGBT Workplace Discrimination Case

LGBT rights attorneys are not giving up, but Jameka Evans' sex discrimination case is definitely over.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined her petition without comment after the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed her case. Evans had argued her employer discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation and nonconformity to gender norms.

"Under our prior precedent rule, we are bound to follow a binding precedent in this Circuit unless and until it is overruled by this court en banc or by the Supreme Court," the appeals court said in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital.

The closely watched Masterpiece Cakeshop case may be a far cry from Masterpiece Theater, but all eyes were certainly on Justice Kennedy during the case's oral argument. Commentators have long expected that Justice Kennedy would be the swing vote deciding the matter.

Unfortunately for the commentators, Kennedy did not provide a very clear indication of any potential leanings. In fact, he seemed to swing back and forth during the arguments, appearing to support either side at various times.