The Court did take 11 new cases though, including a housing discrimination case out of Texas, a redistricting case out of Arizona and a campaign finance case out of Florida.
The housing case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., raises the question of whether disparate impact claims can be asserted under the Fair Housing Act. It is the third such case the Court has taken in the past three years. The two previous cases settled before the justices could rule on the “disparate impact” question — Mt. Holly in 2013 and Magner v. Gallagher in 2012.
The redistricting case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, involves that state’s use of a commission (as opposed to its legislature) to adopt congressional districts.
And the campaign finance case, Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, asks whether a state judicial conduct rule prohibiting judges from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment.
As Adam Liptak noted in Sunday’s New York Times, writing about judges on the campaign trail:
Thirty of the states that elect judges ban such personal requests. Every state supreme court to address the bans has said they are justified by the need to protect the integrity of the judiciary and public confidence in the judicial system.
But federal appeals courts are split on the issue. Four of them, collectively covering 23 states, have struck down solicitation bans. In May, for instance, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco,struck down Arizona’s ban, at least as applied to candidates for judicial office who are not yet judges.
This is not a concern in North Carolina, however, because the code of judicial conduct here expressly allows judges to personally solicit campaign funds.