In 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required that states with a long history of discrimination had to approve their voting changes with the federal government. That ruling led to a wave of new voter suppression laws in states including Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.
Roberts justified his position by pointing to the continued existence of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which applies nationwide and outlaws the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color. “Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in Section 2,” he wrote in Shelby County v. Holder.
But now, in two Supreme Court cases from Arizona that will be heard on March 2, Republicans are trying to kill what remains of the VRA. Influential Republicans at the state and federal level (including Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell in an amicus brief) have asked the court’s conservative majority to weaken Section 2 or strike it down all together. If they succeed, the VRA would provide little to no protection to voters of color facing an onslaught of new GOP voter suppression efforts across the country, where more than 250 bills restricting voting access have been introduced in 43 states in the past two months.
(Read the rest of the article at the Mother Jones.)