The Supreme Court is helping Republicans suppress voters. Time to add a few more justices.
While America has not seen any significant electoral fraud in the past, unnecessary electoral restrictions have defined the boundaries of our democracy since the nation was founded. Today the Supreme Court is America's greatest electoral suppression force and the Republican Party's best and possibly only hope of remaining a national party.
Monday's decision to have postal ballots signed by a witness in South Carolina, even amid the worst pandemic of the century, is just another reminder that Republican-appointed members of the court have been promoting the GOP's goal of controlling all three branches since long have taken over by the government, regardless of what voters want.
Oppressive voting requirements are one solution to finding a problem - unless you consider Republicans a problem when they are unable to vote in a fair way. The George W. Bush Justice Department searched for electoral fraud for five years and instead found "virtually no evidence of organized efforts to skew federal elections," the New York Times reported in 2007. But all the evidence the GOP really needed is Voices too easily presented in the massive multi-ethnic coalition that drove Barack Obama into the presidency.
On board to make voting more difficult
For the past decade, Republicans have shamelessly pursued an agenda to make voting more difficult while also making it easier to buy elections with anonymous, unlimited donations. And their greatest allies were the members of the Supreme Court appointed by Republican presidents.
"Our country has changed," wrote Justice Secretary John Roberts in the 2013 decision that gutted the voting rights law. This ended the 48 years in which the right to vote was really protected by the force of law. "While any racial discrimination in voting is excessive, Congress needs to ensure that the laws it passes to address this issue are in keeping with current conditions."
Since 2013, the court has exempted states like Texas, which already have Jim Crow-era voting registration laws, to enact laws to transparently suppress voter ID cards that allow gun licenses as identification, but not student IDs.
But even these restrictions are not enough for Texas Republicans, who are determined to keep choosing their voters instead of letting the voters choose them.
Senator Lindsey Graham on October 3, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina.
If you need proof that the Lone Star State Republicans are shaking in their boots for fear of the long-feared prospect that their state will follow in California's brilliant blue footsteps, don't look at the tightened polls. See Governor Greg Abbott's order that Texas postal voting collection points are limited to one per county.
As Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas put it, "This sabotage is not about election security, it is about Republican political insecurity." Its county, including Austin, had four dispensing points. Harris County, home of Houston, had 12.
The burden of having to keep driving and standing in line to cast a ballot during a pandemic could be enough to save the majority of Republicans in the State House, or possibly prevent Trump from losing the state that he gave him in 2016 has delivered the most votes.
At least that's the plan.
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Abbott's desperate move is exactly the kind of repressive electoral change that the pre-emptive power of the proxy law should prevent. And it is almost impossible to calculate the damage that one court decision has done to our democracy while handing over GOP power which it could never have won in fair elections.
The year after the Supreme Court ruling against Shelby v Holder put down the voting law, turnout was the lowest turnout since World War II. Coincidentally. And in the next presidential election, Trump won, a man whose career as a Republican politician began by questioning the citizenship of the first black president. Coincidentally.
Bush versus Gore II would destroy the court
In 2020, Republicans aren't even hiding their disdain for democracy. Senator Lindsey Graham has openly requested that Amy Coney Barrett be sustained in the Supreme Court before election day so that the Supreme Court can "rule" the election.
Forget the injustice of the electoral college that will strike the election of the candidate who received millions more votes. The argument here is that the court should choose the president.
Nothing would erase the legitimacy of this court faster than another Bush-style robbery against Gore, this time carried out with the help of three judges selected by a president who has no hope of ever winning the referendum.
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A new poll found that 74% of voters would like the Senate to work on COVID-19 relief before confirming Trump is giving him the vote and killing the Affordable Care Act. This confirmation alone can therefore be enough to destroy confidence in a court and a party that does not believe in democracy itself.
Republicans could argue that the constitution allows them to uphold justice now, days before voters elect the next president. But it also allows Congress to determine the size of the court. And the only way to defeat this little obsession with suppression of democracy would be to broaden that spirit with a few more judges.
Jason Sattler, a writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a member of the US TODAY Board of Contributors and moderator of The GOTMFV Show podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @LOLGOP
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This article originally appeared TODAY in the US: The Supreme Court Oppresses the Voters. Will he vote for Trump in the 2020 election?
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