A More Liberal Supreme Court? Not When It Comes to Voting Rights
For the fourth time since April, the Supreme Court this week made it harder for Americans to vote. The ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in dissent, was part of “a trend of condoning disfranchisement.” The court’s rulings — in cases from Alabama, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin — provide a contrast to an image of the court that emerged at the end of the term that ended last week, one in which liberals achieved some significant victories. The recent run of election cases tell a different story. Paul M. Smith, who teaches election law at Georgetown and represented formerly incarcerated people who sought to vote in Florida, said there may be multiple explanations for the recent rulings, including a general skepticism of federal intervention in the state administration of elections. “You might hypothesize that this is all of a piece with the Republican Party’s policies of trying to shrink the electorate for political advantage,” he said. “And maybe that’s part of it. But the instinct to deregulate seems to extend beyond situations with a partisan valence.”
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