Last week, I was at the Supreme Court to second-chair the oral argument in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky.
The case, which involves a First Amendment challenge to a ban on political apparel at the polling place, has garnered quite a bit of attention. Here’s a round-up:
Nina Totenberg has this article (and podcast) on NPR. She attended argument and noted that the justices had tough questions for both sides. In the article, Totenberg recalls some of the questions from Justices Kagan, Breyer, Alito, Ginsburg, and the Chief Justice.
Meanwhile, Adam Liptak has this article in the New York Times. Liptak recalls a striking exchange between Justice Alito and Dan Rogan, the government’s attorney:
[Justice Alito: Would the Minnesota law ban a t-shirt] reproducing the text of the Second Amendment?
“I think that that could be viewed as political,” Mr. Rogan said.
One reproducing the text of the First Amendment?
“It would be allowed,” Mr. Rogan said.
One saying “All lives matter”?
“That could be perceived as political,” Mr. Rogan said.
One saying #MeToo?
“If that was an issue in elections in that polling place, that would be political,” Mr. Rogan said.
After hearing all of this, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said he was uneasy about a law that “would forbid people from wearing certain portions of the Bill of Rights into a polling place but not other portions of the Bill of Rights.”
Two days ago, Chinelo Nkechi Ikem had this piece in the Pacific Standard. The article features quotes from Stanford Law Professor and former Supreme Court contender Michael McConnell, and John Gordon, the executive director of the ACLU’s Minnesota branch. I’m quoted as saying:
“A lot of states have more narrow statues. And those states haven’t had any history of massive brawls at the polling place . . . . There’s really no evidence that Minnesota needs a law like that to promote decorum at the polling place.”
For a lighter take on this important issue, watch Jimmy Fallon’s sketch on it at 1:35 of this video.