Supreme Court Justices Can ‘Gut’ the Voting Rights Act: Eugene Mazo

Sonia Sotomayor Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco

The US Supreme Court, in an unsigned opinion Wednesday, rejected the Wisconsin legislative map drawn by the Democratic governor and adopted by the state’s supreme court. Legal experts warn that the ruling has the potential to erode longstanding voting protections that have been trusted for decades.

The per curiam judgment in the case stylized as Wisconsin Legislature Sues Wisconsin Elections Commission less than five months until the primaries currently scheduled in Badger State.

In deciding to roll out the maps, an unspecified number of judges on the nation’s supreme court accepted legal arguments implemented by the state legislature controlled by the GOP and by the efforts of the Government. Tony Evers (D) to create a new black county in Milwaukee based on an unacceptable and unwarranted understanding of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

SEE MORE: Wisconsin Republicans Ask SCOTUS to Remove Legislative Map drawn by Democratic Governor by Arguing New Black Majority in Violation of Voting Rights Act

“We agree that the court made a legal error in applying this Court’s decisions regarding the relationship between the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and the VRA,” the opinion said. know – and allows Wisconsin’s highest court to “select from” other submitted maps or “reexamine the Governor’s maps” as long as their analysis complies with “conservative law.” equal defense” mentioned by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Evers created a black seventh county and justified it by saying that the VRA required the creation of such a county in response to the significant increase in the Black population in the area. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in upholding Evers’ argument, was a little more cautious and said “a Negro seventh district may be needed” under the VRA because it is possible to “draw out” such a county without does not violate the VRA and the Equal Protection Clause.

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday thoroughly rejected both of those interpretations of the VRA and the Equality Protection Clause precedent.

In short, judges have no name – certainly no Justice Sonia Sotomayor or Justice Elena Kagan—There is evidence that a landmark case outlining the process for minority counties with a constitutionally admissible majority was misapplied by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Case, Thornburg v. Gingles, points out the following factors to create such counties: (1) a large and compact community of minority voters; (2) a politically cohesive minority community; and (3) a shows that the majority in the area has a history of voting as a bloc to defeat the minority preference candidates.

In allowing Evers’ seventh black majority district, the Supreme Court said state superior court judges “reduced Gingles’ analysis of the entire situation to a single factor” and focuses on the vote-to-population ratio as a controlling consideration.

Instead, the curiam opinion requested the following judicial investigation:

The question that our VRA forerunners asked and failed to answer by the courts is whether a race-neutral alternative that does not add a seventh district of blacks is denied equal political opportunity. equality of black voters or not. To answer that question, a “rigorous local due diligence” is required of the challenged area. When the Wisconsin Supreme Court attempted to perform a full rigorous surveillance analysis, it failed to do so in accordance with our precedent and its ruling could not stand.

Justice Sotomayor, in a dissent starring Justice Kagan, called the opinion “unprecedented” about “completely” turning the map of Wisconsin upside down in an “urgent stance” ” because “such a summary reversal is usually reserved for decisions that violate the settled law.” Here, Sotomayor complained, her conservative colleagues took the matter to the “State Supreme Court for failing to comply with an obligation that, under existing precedent, is at best ambiguous.”

To hear dissidents talk about it, the state supreme court had to admit not to doing the full VRA analysis but through the maps in the “first case.” What the dissident means here is that the U.S. Supreme Court precedent has only required, to date, a lower court to perform a full VRA analysis when a court is “on trial.” one next challenge” (our emphasis). But here, Sotomayor notes, “The Wisconsin Supreme Court is picking a map for itself.” And, in doing so, she noted, the state court said At moment later The challenge is both likely and will require a full VRA analysis.

The disgruntled dissident concluded:

This intervention of the Court today is not only unusual but also unnecessary. The Wisconsin Supreme Court rightly reserved the possibility that an appropriate plaintiff could bring equal defense or challenge the VRA in an appropriate forum. I will allow that process to happen, rather than complicate these proceedings with legal confusion through reversing the summary.

A lot of online legal commentator was quick to criticize the majority ruling as a convenient violation of the so-called “Purcell principle,” is a piece of advice that is applied inconsistently created by court Roberts in 2006. The principle described by Justice Brett Kavanaugh represents the proposal that “generally federal district courts should not enact state election legislation in the run-up to an election” in a recent case involving congressional redistricting in Alabama.

In an interview with Law & Crime, a legal expert omitted Purcell The analysis is somewhat superficial and warns of a more fundamental attempt by court conservatives to restore the effectiveness of the VRA and some of its remaining protections.

“In this case, Purcell not mentioned so this is not the case Purcell apply,” Law Professor Visits Seton Hall Eugene D. Mazo speak. He describes the principle as essentially a suggestion that the courts should not make electoral decisions that alter the rules of the game close to elections because it confuses voters.

“We really don’t know when Purcell apply,” noted Mazo. “Close to an election or how large a rule change is needed. Scholars have criticized Purcell as bringing more confusion than clarity. “

“This [primary] the election is in August so I still think we are pretty far away,” he continued. “I think something else is happening here.”

Mazo points out that each curiam opinion actually begins its analysis by quoting the word April 5 ruling of the Supreme Court since 1993 it was that which pushed back against the VRA by saying race cannot be a major factor in drawing a legislative district because that would violate the Equal Protection Clause.

“The law of redistribution is similar to affirmative action,” explains Mazo, “but it can’t be the only reason you draw the area.”

The law professor said that pinning that case as a basis for analysis is a sign that conservatives are “essentially deregulation” in court, who “think the Constitution should be blinded.” color” is “gutching some Part 2 of the Rights Act Voting. ”

“The Supreme Court is being set up to significantly limit the circumstances in which you can use the run-up to appeal to legislative districts,” he said while similar and comparing Wisconsin’s decision with recent Alabama ruling.

In both states, a lower court decided that it was necessary to attract an additional minority majority. Each time, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority say the changes cannot stand.

“I think what the courts are aiming for is that they’re going to say, ‘No, you want to appeal to counties by race, you need a really good reason to do that,’ ‘Mazo continued – quoting a commonly used framework for undoing the action of a state. “I think they’ll try to rethink some of these principles.”

“The rules of the game are not really written down,” he continued – noting that there is practically no right to vote in the US Constitution. “The Constitution says very little about voting. They think it has gone too far so they are limiting and cutting Season 2”

University of Kentucky Law Professor Joshua A. Douglas provides a similar understanding of Wednesday’s comments.

“I think the biggest problem here is that the Court once again seems to have given a narrow interpretation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and its previous precedents through an expedited appeal without full approval. enough information to summarize and argue orally,” he told Law & Crime in an email. “Substance law is currently being worked on in these ball socket cases.”

[image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Is there a trick we should know? [email protected] Supreme Court Justices Can ‘Gut’ the Voting Rights Act: Eugene Mazo

James Brien

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