celebrated the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the new US
Supreme Court Justice. Jackson’s endurance of the GOP’s
venom had little to do with her stellar qualifications for the seat.
Sadly, her addition to the seat will also have little to do with
changing the partisanship of the High Court. It is still a
conservative court and with civil and constitutional rights laws
under unprecedented assault, we are poised to witness legislative and
judicial decisions that will take us backward real fast.
than 360 bills that shackle voter participation have been introduced
all over the country. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana,
Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin are all trying to defend themselves
from the Republic wrath. The conservative courts all the way up to
the High Court are in cahoots in the dismantling of the coveted 1965
Voting Rights Act.
U.S. Supreme Court could have exercised a number of options but chose
to smack down the state of Wisconsin’s redistricting map. The
decision to block Wisconsin’s map was another nail in the
coffin for voting rights. It represents a win for the Big Lie
campaign as Republicans steamrolled their anti-democracy, anti-Black,
anti-women and anti-family agenda across the country.
hard-fought legislative act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson
in 1965 to protect and preserve voting rights for all, most notably
for African Americans. This was monumental after many brutal and
bloody years of struggle for civil rights in the South. With the
passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA), Black people no
longer had to jump through the most obvious and ridiculous obstacles
to voting like reciting the U.S. Constitution or guessing how many
jellybeans were in a jar.
the VRA’s passage, African Americans continue to face a
tortuous path on their way to the ballot box. The obstacles include
reduction or elimination of voting sites, early voting, online
voting, voting by mail as well as restrictive voter identification
laws and unjust voter poll purges.
2013, the U.S. Supreme Court came after the VRA with an axe. After
the damage, Chief Justice John Roberts gave assurances that Section 2
was still a powerful tool that litigants could use to challenge
discriminatory voting laws. Section 2 was a provision to hold certain
rogue states more accountable because they had a history of voting
restriction trickery. Before these states could change their voting
laws, they would be subjected to the “pre-clearance”
provision of the VRA. This current court is making it harder to win
any case using that provision.
court’s hostility towards the Voting Rights Act comes at a
moment when Republican legislatures across the US are passing a wave
of new voting restrictions that many see as thinly veiled efforts to
make it harder for Black and Latino Americans to vote. Voting rights
groups have fewer and fewer tools to challenge those restrictions.
defeat of trump in 2020 fueled the velocity of GOP efforts in states
where they can wreak the most havoc. The multi-tiered strategy
included the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It also
includes gerrymandering, voter suppression, and taking over election
positions. They have a marketing strategy so successful that two
thirds of Republicans still believe trump is the legitimate
president. The Big Lie is alive and well.
Democratic Party seems to be unable to mount an aggressive campaign
to win the battle of public opinion even if the courts are stacked
against them. Democrats don’t have a plan - except to cut deals
with treacherous Republicans to save their own districts.
who believe in freedom cannot wait on the Democratic Party to lead
this fight. We must develop a comprehensive electoral strategy with
clear and uncompromising demands for them, for us. Voting rights will
be a crucial battleground going forward because, like abortion
rights, is a right that conservatives are hell bent on annihilating.