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Supreme Court to hear Texas re-redistricting and Vermont campaign finance cases this week

The New York Times reports: The most pressing and unsettled questions in election law are those that concern the role of money, the role of race and the role of partisanship. The Supreme Court will take up all three this week.

Hearing arguments in a campaign finance case from Vermont on Tuesday and a Congressional redistricting case from Texas on Wednesday, the justices will venture onto a shifting landscape where the controlling legal precedents are either unclear or unstable and the prospect for fundamental change looms on the horizon.

On many of the questions, the new Roberts court will almost certainly be as closely divided as was the Rehnquist court. Two years ago, for example, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was succeeded last month by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., cast the decisive fifth vote to uphold major provisions of a new federal campaign finance law. The justices were unable during that same term to agree on a majority opinion in a case from Pennsylvania on whether the Constitution prohibits a partisan gerrymander.

While decisions in the new cases are not likely until June, the arguments this week could offer a hint of the court's direction and appetite for forging a new consensus. -- Supreme Court Set to Weigh Central Election-Law Issues - New York Times

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