Supreme Court decisions for 6/11/18

Three decisions today, with a fourth case a per curiam affirmance by an equally divided court. Husted v A. Philip Randolph Institute would be the most high profile of today’s cases.

I may opine on the Husted case after I have had a chance to read it.

Additionally, nothing very interesting on today’s order list just below:

Sveen v Melin by Justice Kagan for an 8 to 1 majority with Justice Gorsuch dissenting.

Minnesota’s statute revoking spousal life insurance designations on divorce does not violate the contract law.

Husted v. A Philip Randolph Institute by Justice Alito for a 5 to 4 majority.

Ohio’s voter list maintenance procedures do not violate Federal law.

China Agritech v. Resh by Justice Ginsburg for a unanimous court.

The question was whether, when class certification was sought but denied, a would-be class member can file a new class action beyond the time allowed by the applicable statute of limitations. The Court’s answer is no.

Washington v United States Judgement affirmed by an equally divided court. Per curiam, Justice Kennedy was recused.

I will paste the syllabus for Husted.

(Note to Mods: As a work of the Federal Government, the following is in the public domain. Attribution is given to the United States Supreme Court.)

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) addresses the removal of
ineligible voters from state voting rolls, 52 U. S. C. §20501(b), including
those who are ineligible “by reason of” a change in residence,
§20507(a)(4). The Act prescribes requirements that a State must
meet in order to remove a name on change-of-residence grounds,
§§20507(b), ©, (d). The most relevant of these are found in subsection
(d), which provides that a State may not remove a name on
change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant either (A) confirms
in writing that he or she has moved or (B) fails to return a preaddressed,
postage prepaid “return card” containing statutorily prescribed
content and then fails to vote in any election during the period
covering the next two general federal elections.
In addition to these specific change-of-residence requirements, the
NVRA also contains a general “Failure-to-Vote Clause,” §20507(b)(2),
consisting of two parts. It first provides that a state removal program
“shall not result in the removal of the name of any person
. . . by reason of the person’s failure to vote.” Second, as added by
the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), it specifies that “nothing
in [this prohibition] may be construed to prohibit a State from using
the procedures” described above—sending a return card and removing
registrants who fail to return the card and fail to vote for the requisite
time. Since one of the requirements for removal under subsection
(d) is the failure to vote, the explanation added by HAVA makes
clear that the Failure-to-Vote Clause’s prohibition on removal “by
reason of the person’s failure to vote” does not categorically preclude
using nonvoting as part of a test for removal. Another provision
makes this point even more clearly by providing that “no registrant
may be removed solely by reason of a failure to vote.” §21083(a)(4)(A)
(emphasis added).
Respondents contend that Ohio’s process for removing voters on
change-of-residence grounds violates this federal law. The Ohio process
at issue relies on the failure to vote for two years as a rough way
of identifying voters who may have moved. It sends these nonvoters
a preaddressed, postage prepaid return card, asking them to verify
that they still reside at the same address. Voters who do not return
the card and fail to vote in any election for four more years are presumed
to have moved and are removed from the rolls.
Held: The process that Ohio uses to remove voters on change-ofresidence
grounds does not violate the Failure-to-Vote Clause or any
other part of the NVRA. Pp. 8–21.
(a) Ohio’s law does not violate the Failure-to-Vote Clause. Pp. 8–
16.
(1) Ohio’s removal process follows subsection (d) to the letter: It
does not remove a registrant on change-of-residence grounds unless
the registrant is sent and fails to mail back a return card and then
fails to vote for an additional four years. See §20507(d)(1)(B). Pp. 8–
9.
(2) Nonetheless, respondents argue that Ohio’s process violates
subsection (b)’s Failure-to-Vote Clause by using a person’s failure to
vote twice over: once as the trigger for sending return cards and
again as one of the two requirements for removal. But Congress
could not have meant for the Failure-to-Vote Clause to cannibalize
subsection (d) in that way. Instead, the Failure-to-Vote Clause, both
as originally enacted in the NVRA and as amended by HAVA, simply
forbids the use of nonvoting as the sole criterion for removing a registrant,
and Ohio does not use it that way. The phrase “by reason of”
in the Failure-to-Vote Clause denotes some form of causation, see
Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., 557 U. S. 167, 176, and in context
sole causation is the only type of causation that harmonizes the
Failure-to-Vote Clause and subsection (d). Any other reading would
mean that a State that follows subsection (d) nevertheless can violate
the Failure-to-Vote Clause. When Congress enacted HAVA, it made
this point explicit by adding to the Failure-to-Vote Clause an explanation
of how the clause is to be read, i.e., in a way that does not contradict
subsection (d). Pp. 9–12.
(3) Respondents’ and the dissent’s alternative reading is inconsistent
with both the text of the Failure-to-Vote Clause and the clarification
of its meaning in §21083(a)(4). Among other things, their
reading would make HAVA’s new language worse than redundant,
since no sensible person would read the Failure-to-Vote Clause as
prohibiting what subsections © and (d) expressly allow. Nor does
the Court’s interpretation render the Failure-to-Vote Clause superfluous;
the clause retains meaning because it prohibits States from
using nonvoting both as the ground for removal and as the sole evidence
for another ground for removal (e.g., as the sole evidence that
someone has died). Pp. 12–15.
(4) Respondents’ additional argument—that so many registered
voters discard return cards upon receipt that the failure to send cards
back is worthless as evidence that an addressee has moved—is based
on a dubious empirical conclusion that conflicts with the congressional
judgment found in subsection (d). Congress clearly did not think
that the failure to send back a return card was of no evidentiary value,
having made that conduct one of the two requirements for removal
under subsection (d). Pp. 15–16.
(b) Nor has Ohio violated other NVRA provisions. Pp. 16–21.
(1) Ohio removes the registrants at issue on a permissible
ground: change of residence. The failure to return a notice and the
failure to vote simply serve as evidence that a registrant has moved,
not as the ground itself for removal. Pp. 16–17.
(2) The NVRA contains no “reliable indicator” prerequisite to
sending notices, requiring States to have good information that
someone has moved before sending them a return card. So long as
the trigger for sending such notices is “uniform, nondiscriminatory,
and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act,” §20507(b)(1), States
may use whatever trigger they think best, including the failure to
vote. Pp. 17–19.
(3) Ohio has not violated the NVRA’s “reasonable effort” provision,
§20507(a)(4). Even assuming that this provision authorizes federal
courts to go beyond the restrictions set out in subsections (b), ©,
and (d) and strike down a state law that does not meet some standard
of “reasonableness,” Ohio’s process cannot be unreasonable because
it uses the change-of-residence evidence that Congress said it
could: the failure to send back a notice coupled with the failure to
vote for the requisite period. Ohio’s process is accordingly lawful.
Pp. 19–21.
838 F. 3d 699, reversed.
ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J.,
and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a
concurring opinion. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which
GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a
dissenting opinion.

The problem with the Ohio decision is this: It’s assuming that not excercising that right is basis to revoke it.

Let’s play a game: If you don’t carry your gun for two years, we will confiscate it, and you have to reapply to get it back.

Would a single Conservative be for that? No. So why is it ok to do the same for voting?

I am still reading the decision and the dissents, however, I will respond briefly to state that, under this decision, non voting cannot be the SOLE reason for removing a voter from the rolls. It merely starts the process.

Also, I have read enough to determine that this case was one of statutory interpretation, not Constitutional interpretation, so no comparisons to guns or anything else would be valid.

In any event, I really need to read the Breyer and Sotomayor dissents before I can critique them. :smile:

It’s NOT just not exercising the right.

The time limit kicks in once the voter hasn’t returned a return postage paid card saying they still live at the address.

I like my idea. Every 10 years with the cencus, voting rolls are cleared and everyone needs to re-register again.

That seems reasonable to me, especially if we can get a big “Register!” campaign out.

It’d be far easier if the government actually decided to track where people live in a far more pro-active way. You shouldn’t have to register to vote. The government should already know who you are and if you can vote.

Umm no, it is assuming that not voting for that period combined with the failure to return the address confirmation card is evidence you have moved. And if living at a specific address was or is a requirement for a carry permit, I have no issue with that permit being removed if you fail to confirm you still live there.

Good luck getting the tin foilers on board with that.

Good idea. That keeps dead people from voting and others from voting in 2 different locations.

Everyone wants the government to keep track of people but refuse to give them the ability to do it adequately. It annoys me to no end.

Man, for a party that wants to claim that they, and they alone, have the black voters interests at heart they sure do seem to be going out of their way to make it as hard for them to vote as possible.

They only way I could get behind this ruling is if the state is required to send all those notices by certified mail. That way there can be a written record as to whether the recipient received the notice or not. Otherwise there’s no accountability.

It’s not. If I register I should stay registered.

You support that idiocy?

And I bet you want goverment to track everything you do.

Right here is a lib that believes goverment should monitor your every move.

Scary isn’t it?

The government doesn’t need to track everything you do. Everyone on the internet already does that and sells the information for a nominal fee thanks to your corrupt corporatist administration.

How would you know if you don’t carry your gun for two years?

It’s an analogy cupcake.

Then you suck at it analogies then.

On ‘Husted v. A Philip Randolph Institute’, the court’s decision was misguided.