How the Supreme Court leaned election law in favor of the Republicans

File-This November 30, 2018 file photo shows Magistrate John Roberts sitting with the Supreme Court judges for a portrait of the group in the Supreme Court Building in Washington. A Supreme Court spokesman confirmed on Tuesday, July 7, that he spent the night in the hospital in June 2020 after Roberts fell and injured his forehead. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Under Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., the Supreme Court abolished part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and clarified changes to election rules with the Department of Justice in states with a history of discriminating against black voters. Asked to do. (The Associated Press)

The new wave of voting restrictions across the South this year may seem like a response to the 2020 elections, but its origins are not insignificant in the Supreme Court. The rights of their voters.

The total number of court decisions on elections could give the Republicans a great advantage. Republicans are trying to regain control of Parliament in 2022 and White House in 2024.

Under Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., the Supreme Court is part of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states with a history of discrimination against black voters to clarify changes in election rules with the U.S. Department of Justice. Roberts, who won a 5 to 4 majority in 2013, called this section obsolete and did not fit into the “current situation.”

In the opinion of the Roberts Court, the Constitution allows lawmakers to withdraw the Gerrymandering district to maintain power, limiting the amount of money wealthy donors and corporate groups can spend on campaigns, and states rather than voters. May even allow lawmakers to decide. Who will be the president?

This is a view that has proven to help Republican states to skirmish ahead of last year’s elections, paving the way for a recent presidential confrontation. Texas Republican Party Thorough Efforts Enact voting restrictions.

According to Brennan Center scholar Michael Lee, the court’s decision to change constituencies may be sufficient to transfer control of the US House of Representatives next year. It will be the first cycle of constituency restructuring in more than 50 years, which may come into effect soon.

“The Supreme Court has given a green light to the aggressive partisan gerrymandering,” he said. “In these states alone, it’s almost certain that Republicans have enough seats to regain the House of Representatives.”

Professor Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University’s Faculty of Law said it would be surprising if the newly enacted voting restrictions were lifted. “The Supreme Court has not signaled to protect voting rights,” he said.

For some time after the civil rights era of the 1960s, the Supreme Court called voting a fundamental right, and one judge was obliged to protect it.

“The right to freely vote for a candidate of your choice is the essence of a democratic society, and the restrictions on that right are at the heart of the representative government,” Chief Justice Earl Warren told Reynolds v. Sims in 1964. wrote.

However, the constitutional concept of voting rights has diminished and replaced by the court’s belief that the power of the state legislature outweighs the rights of voters.

Professor Nicholas Stephanoplos of Harvard University’s Faculty of Law said he teaches election law and does not intend to speculate on the judge’s intentions. “But beyond voting rights, constituency restructuring, voting rights law, and campaign finance, court decisions have benefited the Republicans,” he said. “And partisan dominance is these. Explain the decision better than rival hypotheses such as originality, judicial precedents, and non-intervention in justice. “

State legislator vs. judge

Last fall, court conservatives repeatedly disciplined judges in the face of a COVID-19 pandemic trying to protect voters. For example, extending the deadline for mail ballots. An important Wisconsin judge said Ballots with stamps up to the voting date should be counted, even if they arrive a few days late. The Supreme Court voted 5 to 3 in October.

The Constitution empowers the state legislature, not the judge, to set election rules, Judges Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh said. Democratic National Committee vs. Wisconsin State Parliament. “Members can be held liable by people for rules they write or don’t write,” they added.

But Wisconsin may not be the best example of a “nationally accountable” legislator. Despite the Democratic Party’s majority of the state and the expulsion of Republican Governor Scott Walker, state legislative constituencies tend to favor Republicans, with 63 out of 99 Republicans after the 2018 elections. Occupied.

Six months ago, the Supreme Court dismissed a lower court ruling that cracked down on the Wisconsin constituency as an extreme partisan gerrymander.

Republicans did not invent the gerrymandering. Once the Democrats took the lead. But when the Republicans won the 2010 midterm elections, they gathered constituencies to consolidate the party’s dominance. When disputed in court, the Supreme Court , Sided to the state rather than voters.

Roberts Remarks in a 5 to 4 majority vote in 2019 To support Republicans in North Carolina, and even if Democrats won more votes across the state, they almost guaranteed that Republicans would secure 10 out of 13 seats in parliament. Claiming that the interests of the party cannot be taken into account when demarcating the constituency basically invalidates Framer’s decision to entrust the constituency to a political body. ” Said in Rucho vs. Common Cause.

To what extent will the Supreme Court support state rights over the will of voters? That question may be answered in 2024.

When it was revealed that President Trump had missed Joe Biden’s reelection, some of Pennsylvania’s conservative analysts and Republicans said that Congress ignored voters’ decisions and had their own electoral college. Suggested that he could be appointed.

They maintained the slight victory of George W. Bush in 2000 and ended the recount of paper card votes in Florida with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, Bush v. Gore. I quoted it. Unless the state parliament chooses state-wide elections, the president will not choose state-wide elections, “said the court, saying that the state could ultimately regain the power to appoint an elector to choose the president. Added.

Last year, no legislature chose to appoint its own slate to the electoral college, but if the 2024 presidential election is very close, more than one is likely to try.

Controversy over the Constitution

The legal division over voting and elections begins with a fundamental debate about how to read the Constitution and American history.

As written in 1787, it gave voters a very limited role. Members of the House of Representatives were to be elected “by the people,” but the Legislature elects Senators, appoints electors to elect the president, and sets the rules for elections.

However, the Constitution has been repeatedly amended to expand and strengthen voting rights, including protection against discrimination based on gender and race.

The Warren Court considered this evolution to make voters responsible for American democracy, but today’s conservative judges support “originalism” and focus on the words of the 18th-century Constitution. ..

“The courts have changed a lot now,” said USC law professor Flanita Tolson, who respects the state more, but “privileges the status quo of 1787, when voters were mostly white, and is an egalitarian. I’m ignoring. ” Reconstruction correction. “

The major rulings that undermine the Voting Rights Act highlight the difference.Congress puts the law 15th revisionEnacted after the Civil War, it was enacted to prevent black Americans from being denied or diminished in voting rights.

In cracking down on an important part of the law Roberts wrote That Draft of the Constitution The state intended to retain “the power to regulate elections.”

Civil rights lawyers may continue to file proceedings under the Voting Rights Act to prove that the new restrictions discriminate against black or Latin voters. However, these proceedings are difficult to win and the proceedings can take years.

Republican lawyers say Democrats and their allies have exaggerated claims about “voter oppression.” They argue that elections require rules, and enforcing those rules is not the same as denying someone the right to vote.

The Supreme Court in March reviewed Arizona’s rules requiring the destruction of ballots thrown in the wrong constituencies. “Arizona hasn’t denied any voting opportunities,” said Michael Carbin, an Arizona Republican lawyer in Washington. Going to the right constituency is a “normal voting burden.” , He said, is not an unfair rule for minority voters.

Freedom of speech (and money) protection

This fall, Roberts will exceed his 16-year term in Earl Warren. While Warren defends equal rights and voting, the Roberts Court has repeatedly asserted its obligation to protect the First Amendment’s right to spend money on campaigns by wealthy corporate groups. It invalidated a law dating back to 1947 that restricted election funds because it violated the right to speak.

The court said in a 2010 Citizens United decision that “political speeches cannot be restricted based on the wealth of the speaker.” “The First Amendment generally suppresses political speeches based on the speaker’s identity.” Because “forbidden”. In that case, the “speaker” was a corporation or a corporate body. The union also won because it was restricted by the same law.

“In our democracy, there is no more fundamental right than the right to participate in the election of political leaders.” Roberts wrote four years later in the opening line of McCutcheon vs. FEC.A 5 to 4 decision in favor of the Republican National Committee lifted restrictions on total contributions to candidates.

But this time, Roberts seems to be opposed to whether legislators can be held accountable by the public when overseeing election law. Final People who help decide who should Govern. “

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..