Voting Rights Act was eviscerated
December 16, 2021
To The Eagle:
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wondered during Dec.1st oral arguments on Mississippi’s anti-abortion legislation, whether the Supreme Court as an institution could survive the “stench” from overturning 50 years of precedent of its Roe v. Wade decision.
The Roberts court already emits an offensive odor associated with its decisions to erode the principle on which our constitutional republic was founded- that the people are the ultimate sovereigns in America and exercise that sovereignty through voting.
Those decisions by the Roberts court include Citizens United v. FEC in 2010, which reversed long-standing campaign finance restrictions and officially made cash the equivalent of speech, giving the wealthiest the loudest and most influential voices. Though that has usually been the case in electoral politics, it was not blatantly the law of the land, until 2010.
The Roberts court’s reek sharpened noticeably upon its 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder in which Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act by abolishing its Section 5 preclearance mandate.
Section 5 required that nine mostly Southern states and parts of seven other states in various sections of the country, preclear with the U.S. Department of Justice, any proposed change in voting requirements or practices. The preclearance requirement stemmed from those states’ and jurisdictions’ histories of voter discrimination.
As soon as the Voting Rights Act was eviscerated the right wing anti-democracy machine, Heritage Action for America, churned into high gear lobbying and financing legislation of many new restrictive voting regulations in states dominated by Republican legislatures and governors.
It’s my opinion that the Founders could not have meant the Constitution to produce desired electoral outcomes by restricting citizen’s access to the ballot or by allowing those with the greatest financial resources to dominate the electoral space. That is where the Roberts court has put us.