In record speed, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the first of four redistricting cases currently on its October 2015 docket, holding in Shapiro v. McManus that, unless a single federal district court judge finds the complaint at issue “constitutionally insubstantial,” a redistricting lawsuit should be handled by a three-judge panel, as required under the Three-Judge Court Act.
“‘Constitutional insubstantiality’ for this purpose has been equated with such concepts as ‘essentially fictitious,’ ‘wholly insubstantial,’ ‘obviously frivolous,’ and ‘obviously without merit,’” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court.
“And the adverbs were no mere throwaways; the limiting words ‘wholly’ and ‘obviously’ have cogent legal significance. Without expressing any view on the merits of petitioners’ claim, we believe it easily clears [this] low bar.”
Attorneys argued the case before the high court on November 4.
The full opinion is here.
For more on the background of the McManus case, read this post by Bloomberg’s Kimberly Robinson.
For more on the redistricting cases at the high court, read here.