search
Sections List
American Journal News

Voting rights ruling increases pressure on Democrats to act

‘This ruling is much worse than we had anticipated,’ said an attorney for the Brennan Center for Justice.

By Associated Press - July 02, 2021
Share
Voters wait in line

Congressional Democrats are facing renewed pressure to pass legislation that would protect voting rights after a Supreme Court ruling Thursday made it harder to challenge Republican efforts to limit ballot access in many states.

The 6-3 ruling on a case out of Arizona was the second time in a decade that conservatives on the Supreme Court have weakened components of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark Civil Rights-era law. But this opinion was released in a much different political climate, in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s lie that last year’s election was stolen.

Trump’s fabrications spurred Republicans in states such as Georgia and Florida to pass tougher rules on voting under the cloak of election integrity.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have already tried to respond with a sweeping voting and elections bill that Senate Republicans united to block last week. A separate bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore sections of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court previously weakened, has been similarly dismissed by most Republicans.

Those setbacks, combined with the Supreme Court’s decision, have fueled a sense of urgency among Democrats to act while they still have narrow majorities in the House and Senate. But passing voting legislation at this point would almost certainly require changes to the filibuster, allowing Democrats to act without GOP support.

“Absolutely this increases the pressure to take a very hard look at whether the Senate is an institution that will allow itself to be rendered powerless and dysfunctional,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat who sponsored a voting bill that passed the House in March.

Change won’t be easy. A group of moderate Democratic senators, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have ruled out revisions to the filibuster. In an evenly divided Senate, their rejection denies the votes needed to move forward with a procedural change.

Thursday’s ruling was on a case in Sinema’s home state. In an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, the court reversed an appellate ruling in deciding that Arizona’s regulations — on who can return early ballots for another person and on refusing to count ballots cast in the wrong precinct — are not racially discriminatory.

Sinema assailed the decision in a statement, saying it would “hurt Arizonans’ ability to make their voices heard at the ballot box.” She reiterated her support for the bill yet said nothing about her opposition to the filibuster changes. That opposition stands in the way of the bill passing.

Democrats, who say the issue is an existential one for democracy and who need the support of voters of color in next year’s midterms, quickly condemned the decision.

“If you believe in open and fair democracy and the principle of one person, one vote, today is one of the darkest days in all of the Supreme Court’s history,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the ruling an “unprecedented assault” that “greenlights the brutal, accelerating campaign of voter suppression.”

Speaking in Florida, President Joe Biden said he would have “much more to say” soon, but largely sidestepped comment.

For their part, Republicans show no sign of willingness to engage with Democrats on the issue.

“The states created the federal government, and it’s not up to Chuck or Nancy or anyone else in Washington, D.C., to tell Arizona or anyone else how they should conduct an election,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who was a party in the case, said on Fox News.

Many other Republicans have dismissed a series of recent hearings on the John Lewis bill as “theater.”

“They are using this issue because they see a political opportunity,” said Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican who sits on the House Judiciary Committee. “The more they advance this narrative that it’s us versus them, and oppressors versus the oppressed, and Black versus white, it divides the country.”

Questions hang over existing lawsuits challenging voting laws.

While experts generally agree that Thursday’s decision will make legal challenges under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act more difficult, many of the lawsuits pending against GOP-backed laws this year make separate, constitutional claims. So those lawsuits will proceed.

The U.S. Justice Department’s recent lawsuit against Georgia’s new voting law does make a Section 2 challenge, although it was narrowly written and alleges an intent by Republican state lawmakers to discriminate against minority voters. In the Arizona case, the legal challenge centered on whether there was a discriminatory effect of the laws.

Still, advocates of voting rights protections were surprised by the breadth of the ruling.

“This ruling is much worse than we had anticipated,” said Wendy Weiser, an attorney for the Brennan Center for Justice. “This is going to put a lot of pressure on Congress and the White House to pass the voting bills.”

And it could embolden more Republican-led states to pursue further restrictions.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, who supports the ruling, said: “States can be confident that they can go full speed ahead to strengthen elections and protect voting rights with security measures such as voter ID and other sensible measures to make it harder to steal elections.”


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

By Rebecca Rivas - December 04, 2023
Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

By Alyssa Burr - October 20, 2023
Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

By Josh Israel - October 20, 2023
Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

By Rebekah Sager - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

By Anna Gustafson - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

By Anna Gustafson - October 18, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Exposed: Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde’s opulent California lifestyle

Exposed: Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde’s opulent California lifestyle

By Jesse Valentine - March 01, 2024
Follow the money: Tim Sheehy takes thousands from drug company lobbyists

Follow the money: Tim Sheehy takes thousands from drug company lobbyists

By Jesse Valentine - February 29, 2024
Judge behind Alabama embryo ruling has ties to Ted Cruz

Judge behind Alabama embryo ruling has ties to Ted Cruz

By Jesse Valentine - February 29, 2024
Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

By Sofia Resnick, States Newsroom - February 28, 2024
Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

By Katie McKellar, Utah News Dispatch - February 27, 2024