Supreme Court throws out federal curb on vulgar trademarks

The U.S. Supreme Court stands in Washington D.C. U.S. on Monday

The court sided with Republican lawmakers in North Carolina and Democratic legislators in Maryland who drew electoral district boundaries that were challenged by voters as so politically biased that they violated rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Lower courts ruled that the redistricting was improper and ordered them to adopt new plans.

In its majority opinion, the court said "the "immoral or scandalous" bar is substantially overbroad".

Justice Elena Kagan read a scathing dissent from the bench for the four liberals.

While the census decision upset conservatives, another of Chief Justice Roberts' rulings Thursday - shooting down a challenge to partisan gerrymandering in the states - was more to their liking. Freda Levenson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union chapter that challenged the OH map, assailed the high court ruling in an emailed statement. A fourth will be decided in a special election in September, after an earlier Republican nominee's campaign was tainted by allegations of ballot fraud. He added that the Supreme Court "drove a final stake through the heart of partisan gerrymandering cases".

With neither party eager to give in, the ruling is likely to further entrench the political divide in the country, several analysts said.

In North Carolina, Republicans were especially unabashed about it. Since congressional districts and federal funding are based not on the number of citizens but on the total population, the consequences of the undercount would be to reduce the political representation of immigrant-heavy districts, majority densely populated urban centers, and shift federal resources away from them. Democratic voters sued over the new districts, complaining that they were driven by partisan concerns.

Democrats and their financial backers have spent millions building institutions devoted to combatting the congressional maps drawn by Republican-controlled statehouses in the wake of the 2010 GOP wave.

He said the ruling created perverse incentives for loud opponents to gin up controversies, make enough noise and hope to entice a sympathetic judge to intervene and police an agency's action, tying up decisions in years of depositions and legal discovery. It found that Republicans won about 16 more U.S. House seats than would have been expected based on their average share of the vote in congressional districts across the country.

Both residency provisions were struck down by lower courts, and the retailers' association dropped its defense of the longer requirement.

"Today's decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next", Breyer wrote.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Supreme Court's opinion in the census case, with the four liberal justices joining him in the relevant part of the outcome. Roberts said the sole stated rationale - enforcement of the Voting Right Act - "seems to have been contrived" and was "more of a distraction". So in response to a potentially momentary setback, the remedy is apparently to launch a doomed impeachment effort against the guy who could guide a conservative Supreme Court majority for decades to come?

It's unclear whether the administration would have time to provide a fuller account. The administration previously said census forms need to be printed in the coming days. The court sent the issue of adding the citizenship question back to administration officials. "I think you'll see more legislators in more states [where there is unilateral control] taking up the mantle of extreme partisan aggression against people who disagree with them".

Evidence uncovered since the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case in late April supports claims that the citizenship question is part of a broader Republican effort to accrue political power at the expense of minorities, the challengers say. At least some of that money, legislators and advocates had argued, would be necessary to counteract the chilling effect of a citizenship question.

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