In Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge alleging that two Arizona provisions disproportionately burdened minority voters. The decision will make it more difficult to contest election regulations under the Voting Rights Act.
Deuel Ross L’09, Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Senior Counsel & Director of Professional Development at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., comments on the decision.
“Although today’s ruling makes clear that the Voting Rights Act bars a range of discriminatory laws, the court’s new standard makes it much harder for voters of color to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Act. When Congress amended Section 2 in 1982, it intended to remove all barriers to voting with a discriminatory impact — regardless of the size of that impact. This ruling ignores Congress’s intent and instead requires the lower courts to focus on the states’ interest in preventing election fraud — even where there is little evidence that such fraud exists. While this ruling makes voting rights litigation more difficult, I expect civil rights activists to continue to use Section 2 to aggressively challenge discriminatory voting rules.”