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‘The Warning Signs Are Flashing’: Democrats Worry SCOTUS Will Deal Another Blow to Voting Rights Act

‘The Warning Signs Are Flashing’: Democrats Worry SCOTUS Will Deal Another Blow to Voting Rights Act

Fearing the Supreme Court may completely strike down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and deal yet another setback to the electoral representation of racial minorities nationwide, Democrats are “sounding the alarm” on the obstruction they face in passing any new federal protections for voting rights.

In a new piece for the HuffPost, writers Igor Bobic and Paul Blumenthal outline the Democrats’ fears following the Court’s decision on Monday to block a lower court’s order striking down Alabama’s redistricting plan as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander under the Voting Rights Act. The lower court had ruled that Alabama must provide at least two Black-majority congressional districts, as opposed to the one created in the latest redistricting plan, for its 27% Black population in order to avoid violating requirements in Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act that provides for a minimum of minority representation.

The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021
Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor
Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

The issue at hand, Bobic and Blumenthal explain, is whether the Voting Rights Act’s protections for minority representation when states draw new legislative district lines will continue to take race into account: “Currently, states with significant populations of racial minorities are required under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to draw districts where those minority groups can elect their preferred representatives while meeting some criteria, including whether the district is compact and whether racial polarization is so severe as to prevent them from selecting their preferred representative. States must also draw district lines, based on the constitution’s equal protection clause, without taking race into account absent a significant reason, like compliance with the Voting Rights Act. But that might be about to change.”

“I think the warning signs on our democracy are flashing,” Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) told HuffPost, calling the ruling “consistent with the kind of hostility to voting rights we’ve seen from the Supreme Court.”

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Read the full report at HuffPost.

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