How Justice Gorsuch Green-Lighted Massive Voter Suppression Through The SCOTUS

How Justice Gorsuch Green-Lighted Massive Voter Suppression Through The SCOTUS

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As a frustrated Supreme Court looks for a solution to partisan gerrymandering, they also seem to have given a green light to widespread voter suppression in the state of Ohio which will likely apply to many other states.

The result: People who haven’t regularly voted over the last two years could find their information purged from the registration rolls. If they don’t take action by responding to notices and update their information, they could be tossed out –along with their valuable vote.

Just in time for the mid-terms…

So why are we here? Maybe the biggest reason: Mitch McConnell continues to brag about obstructing Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland by blocking the vote. His vote suppression ensured that it would be Trump who would make the pick, which ended up being Gorsuch.

Gorsuch, who refused to answer what he would do in the case of the Voting Rights Act during his confirmation hearing, made the deciding vote in the Hustad v. A. Philip Randolph Institute case. It was a 5-4 vote along partisan lines.

So McConnell’s vote suppression ensured that Gorsuch could suppress a great many more votes.

The case determined that Ohio could let the purge of voter rolls begin. If it were up to a Justice Garland, as it should have rightly been, then this outcome would be unlikely.

Gorsuch and “four other conservative judicial activists” decided that Ohio was within its rights to begin sending notices to people who haven’t voted in the last two years.

According to NBC News:

“At least a dozen other politically conservative states said they would adopt a similar practice if Ohio prevailed, as a way of keeping their voter registration lists accurate and up to date.”

Experts believe that the voters most likely to find themselves purged will be the homeless, the young, minorities, and low-income citizens. But the Supreme Court itself also has precedent to believe that’s the case because of a law enacted by Congress.

In a scathing dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the decision ran contrary to the National Voter Registration Act, or “motor-voter law.”

“The Court errs in ignoring this history and distorting the statutory text to arrive at a conclusion that not only is contrary to the plain language of the NVRA but also contradicts the essential purposes of the statute, ultimately sanctioning the very purging that Congress expressly sought to protect against.”

The Nation noted that it appears Gorsuch and the other conservative Justices had chosen “to put partisanship ahead of the law.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan (D-WI) gave a dire warning:

“Today’s decision ensures that more voters—especially those that are young, minority, and low-income—will be turned away from the polls and not have their voices heard.”

He introduced the Voter Roll Integrity Act to ensure that purges are not made without the consent of those being purged using strict confirmation standards.

Although Pocan is calling for immediate consideration of the new law, the odds seem very dismal that Republicans will vote for integrity before untold numbers of people find themselves purged.

Clearly, it’s more important than ever for citizens to be proactive in jumping through the voter registration hoops that Republicans will place in their path. Let’s show them exactly how determined we are to have our voices heard and to have representatives who don’t fear our vote but actually want them.

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Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube with Justice Gorsuch via Wikimedia Commons