WASHINGTON (CN) - Closing out a bustling week before summer hiatus, the Supreme Court took up seven cases Thursday and closed the book on dozens more, including one where North Carolina must redraw voting districts that were racially gerrymandered.
In the gerrymandering case, Covington v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court already affirmed judgment last year but proceedings have been ongoing over how the state must remediate the districts.
After the District Court ordered the state to implement the map drawn by a special master, the Supreme Court agreed to issue a stay pending appeal with regard to a pair of remedial districts in Wake and Mecklenburg counties.
Resolving that appeal Thursday in an unsigned opinion, the high court found that the District Court’s order must be affirmed for Senate Districts 21 and 28 and House Districts 21 and 57.
“The same cannot be said, however, of the District Court’s actions concerning the legislature’s redrawing of House districts in Wake and Mecklenburg Counties,” the opinion states. “There the District Court proceeded from a mistaken view of its adjudicative role and its relationship to the North Carolina General Assembly.”
Rather than confining its remediation to the issue of legislative districts that were racially gerrymandered, according to the ruling, the District Court’s findings on the Wake and Mecklenburg districts involved violations of the North Carolina Constitution’s ban on mid-decade redistricting.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a dissent that he objected to the summary disposition, saying the case should have been resolved after briefing and oral argument.
In another summary opinion Thursday, the Supreme Court clawed habeas relief back from to a California killer named Nicholas Beaudreaux. The Ninth Circuit had agreed with Beaudreux’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, but Thursday’s unsigned opinion says the lower court failed to show deference to the state court that ruled against him.
Justice Stephen Breyer noted a dissent but did not otherwise provide an opinion in the case.
The Supreme Court’s third summary reversal Thursday calls for additional briefing in a pro se suit where Mary Anne Sause accuses police in Louisburg, Kansas, of ordering her to stop praying after entering her home.
In another case, the Supreme Court cited its 2017 ruling in the case Jae Lee v. United States as justification for vacating a decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals involving a defendant named Umesh Kaushal. The Lee case involved a Korean immigrant who faced deportation after following his lawyer’s advice to plead guilty to drug charges.
Though the court did not issue an opinion in Kaushal’s case, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would have denied certiorari because Lee was decided a month before the resolution of Kaushal’s case.
Other justices published dissents Thursday with regard to cases where the Supreme Court denied certiorari.