Nina Totenberg for NPR’s Morning Edition:
The First Amendment argument, however, appeals, in particular, to the justice whose vote is likely to decide the case, Justice Anthony Kennedy. In 2004, he provided the fifth vote for the court staying out of partisan gerrymandering cases, but he made it clear that he remained open to finding a way to measure what is unconstitutional gerrymandering based on party and he specifically mentioned the First Amendment notion that government action cannot punish people based on partisan affiliation.
Election expert Rick Hasen, of the University of California, Irvine, said that Kennedy, 81, knows he will not be on the court forever.
“It’s put-up-or-shut-up time,” Hasen said. “Either he’s going to say, ‘We’ve got to start policing this’ or he has to recognize that what is going to happen in the next round in 2020 is going to look a lot worse than in this round, that it’s going to be no-holds-barred, squeeze out whatever you can, in favor of your party and against the other party.”
Act III of this drama? Well, that is likely to come in June when the Supreme Court finishes writing it.