WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2021 – In a 6–3 decision along partisan lines, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona laws placing restrictions on how ballots are cast and collected. The Court’s ruling in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee is just the latest blow to voting rights from the Roberts Court, which has now severely weakened the ability of federally protected groups to bring challenges under the Voting Rights Act to state voting laws that have a racially disproportionate impact.
In doing so, the Court’s conservatives have further weakened the Voting Rights Act’s ability to protect against racial discrimination in elections, with the Court having previously jettisoned Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. The Court’s decision also comes at a time when state Republican lawmakers have introduced hundreds of bills aimed at suppressing the right to vote for people of color.
Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement:
“Today’s ruling represents a tragic day for American democracy and is a damning indictment of the Supreme Court. By further eroding basic protections under the Voting Rights Act, the Court’s conservative majority has taken us much closer to the establishment of a two-tiered system of justice in which access to the franchise can be restricted through racially discriminatory laws. This is a massive step backward for our country, and all but encourages Republican state lawmakers to consider new ways to make it harder for racial minorities to vote. If there was any doubt before, today’s ruling demonstrates how critically important it is that we abolish the filibuster and quickly pass national voting reforms before it’s too late.”