No one should be surprised that a U.S. Supreme Court packed with 6 justices with little history of concern for voting rights has ruled in favor of Republican state leaders in Arizona who adopted new laws that disproportionately harm minority voters.
It’s important to note, however, that while the Court narrowed the protections under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, it did not strike it down altogether. There is no green light for states to systematically unwind protections for minority voters that have stood for decades.
Of course, Greg Abbott and Republican leaders in Texas don’t wait for any signal or seek permission from any court to make voting more difficult and to stomp on the rights of minority Texans. They will almost certainly attempt to pass new voting laws and try to adopt new district maps in special legislative sessions over the next two months that overtly violate even the lowered standard of the Voting Rights Act.
Expect Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Dade Phelan to run through any legal roadblocks in their virulent efforts to hold power by undermining basic voting rights. Discriminatory vote suppression is hardwired into their very nature.
Ultimately, Congress must stop letting our court system set the rules for voting. It is the responsibility of Congress to adopt voting policy and provide clear and strong protections against discrimination. The Court’s ruling today is another signal to Congress and President Biden to adopt both the For the People Act and, especially, the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act. Nothing is more important to the preservation of freedom and democracy in our nation.