As much as I was hoping for a different result, John Roberts’ Supreme Court has been pretty clear all along that they are no friend of voting rights.
In case you missed it, SCOTUS handed down one of their final decisions for this session, this time for a case called Brnovich v. DNC. The state of Arizona had established two laws — one that banned the collection of absentee ballots by anyone other than a relative or caregiver, and the other threw out ballots cast in the wrong precinct — and they had been found to be discriminatory in a appeals court. That decision was kicked up to the Supreme Court and yesterday they ruled that the appellate court was wrong. So, the Arizona laws will remain on the books.
Unlike other decisions this session, this decision split the Court on ideological grounds. All 6 conservative justices voted in favor of Arizona, and the 3 liberal justices dissented.
To explain their decision, Justice Alito (writing for the majority) said “just because voting may be ‘inconvenient for some,’ doesn’t mean that access to voting is unequal.”
Justice Kagan wrote a blistering dissent (which you can read HERE starting on page 45) and in it she said, “Maybe some think that vote suppression is a relic of history — and so the need for a potent Section 2 has come and gone … But Congress gets to make that call.”
And that right there is the point I want to make today.
Our system of government is based on checks and balances. What blunts the power of the Supreme Court is Congress. What needs to happen is we need to write a new Voting Rights Act, with language that cannot be misinterpreted by future Supreme Courts, that solidify that American citizens must not have unequal access to the ballot. Period.
It was this very concern that prompted Democrats to write the For The People Act, and we must keep pushing forward. With this particular Congress, I’m not sure exactly how we pass such a law without getting rid of the filibuster, so I’m on board with continuing to pester my Senators to pressure other Democrats to make that happen. I’m also on board with protecting the House and expanding the majority in the Senate in the midterms so that if we can’t get a new voting rights law passed in the 117th Congress, we’ll have another shot at it in the 118th Congress while Biden is still president.
I will never let go of the need to expand voting rights, and hope you all are with me on this issue.