(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in a major voting rights case involving whether Arizona voting restrictions are racially discriminatory.
The high court ruled Arizona’s out-of-precinct policy and HB 2023 do not violate the Voting Rights Act and were not enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is now reversed, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for the majority and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan dissented.
Demonstrators call for senators to support the elimination of the Senate filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation and economic relief bills, as they protest during the “Moral March” outside the Supreme Court in Washington on June 23, 2021.
Kagan, in a dissent for the court’s liberal wing, wrote: “What is tragic here is that the Court has (yet again) rewritten — in order to weaken — a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness, and protects against its basest impulses. What is tragic is that the Court has damaged a statute designed to bring about ‘the end of discrimination in voting.’ I respectfully dissent.”
It is the biggest voting rights case at the high court in nearly a decade since the justices in 2013 gutted a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting laws.
The ruling will have a sweeping impact on the fate of state election laws as dozens of GOP-led states push for voting restrictions in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s claims of 2020 election fraud.
The restrictions at issue toss out ballots cast out of precinct and ban campaign or community groups from collecting ballots, which GOP critics call “ballot harvesting.”
Kate Shaw, a Cardozo law professor and ABC News legal analyst, said the ruling was a big win for Republicans and will have real-world implications.
“This is a ruling that definitely will make it easier for states to impose restrictions, harder for plaintiffs and voting rights groups to challenge these kinds of restrictions, and could really impact the outcome in close elections going forward,” she said.
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