It Looks Like Pre-Clearance Is Doomed
The 1965 Voting Rights Act requires certain states with histories of racial discrimination to pre-clear any election changes with the Department of Justice. Conservatives have been arguing for years that this provision of the VRA is antiquated and should be struck down. The Supreme Court heard yet another argument on this subject today, and this time it looks like opponents are finally going to win. Here's election law expert Rick Hasen:
A few years ago, I would have had a smidgen of sympathy for the opponents of pre-clearance. Maybe half a century is long enough. But given the rash of racially charged voter suppression efforts of the past three years—photo ID laws, early voting shenanigans, voter purges, etc.—this sure seems like a wildly inopportune time to pretend that we've overcome the demons of our past. Personally, I think I'd vote to expand pre-clearance at this point. Republicans like to claim that the VRA is unfair because it's not just the South that does this stuff, and their point is well taken. The solution just happens to be the opposite of the one they've proposed.
More here from Adam Serwer on Chief Justice John Roberts and his long war against the VRA.
UPDATE: Hasen's site is back up, and his full post is here.