Blaring Quiet Part aloud , GOP Lawyer Admits to Supreme Court That Easier Voting Puts Republicans at ‘Competitive Disadvantage’
“The mask is off. Republicans want to steal your right to vote and pulverize democracy because they are doing not think they’re going to win elections on ideas or humanity.”
Asked by right-wing Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to elucidate the Arizona GOP’s interest in upholding a state law that disqualifies ballots cast within the incorrect precinct—a restriction that voting rights advocates say discriminates against people of color, an assessment protected last year by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—Republican lawyer Michael Carvin responded that striking down the regulation would put “us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.”
“Politics may be a game ,” Carvin added.
Voting rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers welcomed the openness with which Carvin conceded the intent behind the Arizona law, one among two state regulations the conservative-dominated Supreme Court is about to rule on shortly—a decision that might have major nationwide implications because the GOP ramps up its voter suppression efforts across the country. “I mean we all knew this, but didn’t think they might say it aloud ,” tweeted Arizona state Rep. Reginald Bolding (D). “Today within the highest court within the land, an Arizona GOP attorney basically admitted Republicans want to suppress the vote because if they do not it puts them ‘at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.'”
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) added that “the mask is off.”
“Republicans want to steal your right to vote and pulverize democracy because they do not think they will win elections on ideas or humanity,” Pascrell said Tuesday.
The Arizona Republican Party appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which agreed to require up the case.
As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote last year, the Arizona law “places an important burden on people of color. In 2016, as an example , the speed of OOP voting in Pima County was 150 percent higher for Hispanics, 80 percent higher for blacks, and 74 percent higher for Native Americans than for white voters. Across the state, racial minorities voted OOP at twice the speed of whites.”
“One key reason for this disparity,” Stern explained, “is the state’s own crusade to shutter polling places following the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which let Arizona change its voting laws without federal approval. Maricopa County, where quite 60 percent of Arizonans reside, slashed the quantity of polling places by 70 percent between 2012 and 2016.”
During oral arguments within the case on Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared ready to rule out favor of keeping the discriminatory restrictions in place , potentially spelling further disaster for the Voting Rights Act.
“In its most significant voting rights case in almost a decade, the court for the first time considered how a crucial a neighborhood of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 applies to voting restrictions that have a disproportionate impact on members of minority groups,” the ny Times reported. “Several members of the court’s conservative majority said the restrictions were sensible, commonplace, and a minimum of partly endorsed by a bipartisan consensus reflected during a 2005 report signed by former President Carter and James A. Baker III, who served as secretary of state under President George Bush.”
In an appearance on MSNBC late Tuesday, Ari Berman of Jones said that “it’s hard to be optimistic” about the fate of the Voting Rights Act “with this court that already gutted the Voting Rights Act.”
“I’m unsure they’re gonna go thus far … just to mention that the Voting Rights Act is totally eliminated,” said Berman, “but they could just interpret it in such a restrictive way that it’ll be functionally eliminated or reduced to so little protection for minority voters that they will not really look to the courts for relief any more .”
“The undeniable fact that Republicans are challenging the Voting Rights Act at the very moment that they’re trying to pass all of these new voter suppression laws that very likely violate the Voting Rights Act just shows how big of a threat to democracy we see immediately from the Republican Party ,” Berman added.
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