Do You Just HATE Voting? Good, Because Supreme Court Is Probably Going To Take That Burden Away!
This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Brnovich v. DNC and Arizona Republican Part v. DNC, a pair of cases challenging some of Arizona's latest efforts to stop non-white people from voting.
And, well ... things aren't looking good.
Thanks to Mitch McConnell, we now have a Supreme Court with a far-right supermajority. And, while SCOTUS has given us a few pleasant surprises over the last years, they aren't about to do that when the issue is voting rights.
Chief Justice John Roberts has, in fact, saved our asses a few times over the last few years — but don't expect him to act all heroic this time around. Letting Black and brown people vote has never been something Roberts approves of. He even seems to hate voting rights even more than women controlling their own bodies, which is another thing he hates a lot!
In 2013, John Roberts literally wrote Shelby County v. Holder, the 21st century's version of Jim Crow. The opinion murdered Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which had required states with a documented history of stopping Black and brown people from voting to get any new voter suppression laws cleared by the feds.
Since then, the states that used to be covered by the VRA — and other states that hate people of color voting and wanted to get in on the fun — have done everything they can do go back to the 1800s. Within five years of the Shelby County decision, states closed almost 1,000 polling places, mostly in predominantly Black counties. Purges of voter rolls became incredibly common in red states, with tens of millions of registered voters removed from the rolls. Voter ID laws became ubiquitous.
Now, our esteemed rightwing SCOTUS also seems ready to gut Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting laws that "result in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen [...] to vote on account of race or color[.]" Because who needs democracy, really?
After Donald Trump's whiny loser baby fit, an attempted insurrection, and nutjobs all over the country who truly believe the election was stolen from them, Republicans everywhere are looking to further restrict voting rights as much as humanly possible. And, judging from how the oral argument went, this case is probably going to put those voter suppression efforts on steroids.
RNC lawyer Michael Carvin (of the GOP's favorite ratfucking law firm, Jones Day), even said the quiet part out loud when Amy Bony Carrot asked why the Arizona Republican Party was involved in the case at all, saying letting people vote "puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats."
And why is that? Well,
Politics is a zero sum game, and every extra vote they get through unlawful interpretations of Section 2 hurts us.
Imagine standing up in court (or dialing into Zoom court, as the case may be) and saying a court decision should be overturned because doing so would hurt Democrats. That's what this fucker actually did.
And the highest court in our country may be fine with it.
The Arizona Secretary of State, itself, is one of the parties arguing that the laws should be struck down. The state's Latino and Native American populations are exactly who is hurt by these new voter suppression laws — and, like SOS lawyer Jessica Amunson noted, "What Arizona was acting to do was to limit the participation of Hispanics and Native Americans in particular."
But the old, rich, white Chief Justice, who went to a nearly all-white boarding school before attending Harvard for both undergrad and law school, doesn't believe in race discrimination — as in, he doesn't believe it's a thing that really exists. John Roberts dismissed the secretary of state's concerns about laws designed to stop minority communities from voting as "racial proportionality," even asking, "why is that a bad thing when you're talking about electoral procedures?"
fascists conservatives on the Court also showed what they're thinking. Justice Samuel Alito, consistently one of the worst three justices, straight-up said that it was fine for voting laws to be discriminatory, because aren't all laws discriminatory, anyway?
is going to make every voting rule vulnerable to attack under Section 2 [...] because people who are poor and less well educated on balance probably will find it more difficult to comply with just about every voting rule than do people who are more affluent and have had the benefit of more education.
He's SO CLOSE to getting the point. So close, but a world away.
The implications of this case will be far-reaching and long-lasting. From the looks of oral arguments, these cases are going to be decided 6-3 in favor of voter disenfranchisement — and probably create terrible precedent that will haunt us for decades to come. The Court seems poised to create a test for Section 2 of the VRA that makes it all-but-impossible to strike down a law for racial discrimination, even if the people who passed that law danced in a circle with signs saying THIS IS FOR RACIST INTENTS AND PURPOSES.
Republicans know they can only win when it's rigged. So, while people like John Roberts may be inclined to throw a bone to the masses every once in a while in the name of "integrity of the Court," they're never going to budge on the big, systemic issues that keep both their party and their demographic in power.
We need to eliminate the filibuster and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act NOW.
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