Conservative Supreme Court majority gets another crack at the Voting Rights Act
By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter
Updated 8:53 PM ET, Tue March 2, 2021
Hear Supreme Court justices argue controversial Arizona voting law
Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court is poised on Tuesday to hear a case that supporters of voting rights fear will lead the court's new conservative majority to weaken a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits laws that result in racial discrimination.
The dispute comes in the aftermath of a contentious election which prompted former President Donald Trump to make unfounded claims of voter fraud and inspired his supporters to storm the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election.
Eight years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, effectively gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a provision that required states with a history of discrimination to obtain the permission of the federal government or the courts before enacting new laws related to voting.
Since that decision, challengers to voting restrictions have increasingly turned to Section 2 of the law, that holds that no voting regulation can be imposed that "results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color." (Unlike a challenge brought under Section 5, a Section 2 challenge occurs after the voting rule is in place.)
Now the court, with its strong 6-3 conservative-liberal majority, will consider the standards courts will use to determine if a rule violates Section 2.