Nina Totenberg

Updated on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET

Keith Gaddie has "hung up his spurs."

The election expert from the University of Oklahoma no longer helps state legislatures draw new district lines to maximize their partisan advantage.

He was still wearing those spurs in 2011 when he provided data that helped Wisconsin Republicans enact a legislative redistricting plan aimed at maximizing their power for the foreseeable future.

But now he has reversed course and filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the practice is undemocratic.

Whose ox is being illegally gored? That was the question in the first case argued Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court, the first of the new 2017 term.

The case may sound technical — a clash between two federal statutes. But at stake are the rights of tens of million private-sector nonunion employees.

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In a sunny den in McLean, Va., Maureen and Christopher Scalia sit side-by-side on a comfy couch. He co-edited Scalia Speaks, an anthology of his father's speeches on a variety of subjects, and he ranks eighth in birth order out of the nine Scalia children. She is the mother of those nine children, and the widow of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — a conservative icon, bon vivant, music lover and witty observer of law and life.

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If last year's Supreme Court term was so dry of interesting cases that it looked like a desert, this term, which opens Monday, already looks like a tropical rainforest. And the justices are only halfway to filling up their docket.

Already scheduled are major test cases on a raft of controversial issues such as partisan gerrymandering, privacy in an age of technology, sports betting and much more, including a case that pits the right of a same-sex couple to buy a specially created wedding cake against the right of a cake creator and his bakery to refuse.

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A federal appeals court ruled Thursday evening that the Trump administration can't ban grandparents and other family members of citizens and legal residents from coming to the U.S. from six mainly Muslim countries.

The Justice Department downplayed the ruling, looking ahead to a higher-ranking court considering the case: "The Supreme Court has stepped in to correct these lower courts before, and we will now return to the Supreme Court to vindicate the Executive Branch's duty to protect the Nation."

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