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The Supreme Court’s next big voting rights case

In 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act by a 5-4 vote along ideological lines, Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the opinion, said the VRA could prevent racially discriminatory voting laws through the act’s Section 2, which laws that place an unequal burden on minority voters.

We’re about to find out whether that was an empty promise.

The Supreme Court now has before it a case challenging a federal appeals court’s use of Section 2 to strike down two Arizona voting restrictions championed by Republicans that disproportionately affect Native Americans and people of color. One of these provisions makes it illegal to turn in someone else’s vote. In Arizona, Native Americans living on reservations are widely dispersed, far from polling places, and many lack transportation. This law will prevent many of them from voting.

The “pre-clearance” provision required former Jim Crow states to get federal approval of changes to their voting laws, in order to prevent racial abuses. With that gone, Section 2’s prohibition of voting rules that unequally burden minority voters is the only thing left in federal law that prevents a return of racist voter suppression practices in the southern states.

Read story here.

Meanwhile, Democrats are pushing an ambitious voting rights law through Congress, but they’ll have to drop the filibuster to get it through the Senate to President Biden’s desk.

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