The Voting Rights Act is not a moving target, but the test of the Ninth Circuit will turn it into a target-SCOTUSblog



This article is part of an article forum About the upcoming debate Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee.Our case preview is Here.

Megan A. Larrondo and Robert A. Berry are the deputy attorneys general of Idaho, Friendship Introduction Representing 20 states in support of the Arizona Attorney General and the Arizona Republican Party.

The U.S. Constitution empowers states to regulate state and federal elections. States must ensure fair and honest elections, promulgate necessary voting procedures and regulations, and issue safeguards to prevent fraud. In order to perform this task, Idaho, like its sister states, has enacted some laws regarding voting procedures. These laws may impose some burden on voters, but they are necessary to ensure the integrity of the electoral system. Like many states, Idaho is particularly concerned about the expansion of absentee voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. The possibility of voter fraud associated with absentee voting has led state legislators to consider legislation to increase protections against voter fraud.

Should the U.S. Court of Appeals rule on the 9th Circuit Court ruling Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee According to the support of the Supreme Court, this type of neutral and universally applicable legislation may be vulnerable to the attack of Article 2 of the Voting Rights Act, because a single separate provision has an unintentional effect on one group than another. Different influences.Ninth Tour Decision Brunovic It should be reversed. The court should clarify that in the Section 2 challenge, the plaintiff must prove (1) the entire voting and registration system provides unequal voting opportunities for voters in certain protected groups; (2) the challenged law (not other Factors) have led to unequal opportunities.

The standards adopted by the Ninth Circuit did not match the popular language of Section 2. Section 2 (a) and (b) It should be the starting point. (A) Subsection focuses on the effectiveness of voting laws: in order to be illegal, state laws must “[] Deprived of the right to vote on the grounds of race. The impact is measured in accordance with the provisions in subsection (b). (B) Subsection looks at the “political process” in which voters of all races have the right to enter the state. If voters of a race “have fewer opportunities than other voters to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice, then the political process in that state will not be equally open.” In other words, Section 2 requires challengers to show that the state-wide electoral system provides minority voters with fewer opportunities to participate in the electoral process than other members.

The language in subsections (a) and (b) also concludes that the plaintiff must prove that the system in question itself creates equal opportunities. The phrase “result in” is a classic causal language. (B) Subsection (b) uses language to prove the requirement of causation, stating that the law violates Article 2 only when it affects the protected group’s “ability to elect its representatives.

The decision of the National Ninth Circuit deviated from this clear meaning. Instead, it asked whether there is a special law that imposes “different burdens” on minority voters? If the law adversely affects the voting ability of voters of “more than a minority minority”, this criterion is met. Once this standard is reached, under the inspection of the Ninth Circuit, the plaintiff only needs to show that, in the “overall circumstances”, there is a certain “relationship” between the behavior and “social and historical” considerations.

Under this loose standard, the impact of a particular law on only a few voters can be imagined as a scattered burden. This standard is easily met. No state law can have the same effect on every citizen. Moreover, considering the reality of the continuing impact of historical discrimination on minorities, causal analysis is only formal. Compliance with section 2 becomes a moving target.

The Ninth Circuit’s application of its standard to facts proved the ease of use of the standard. After a 10-day trial, no statistics or expert evidence on any racial differences in Arizona’s vote collection laws were provided. The plaintiff relied solely on hearsay evidence. The district court concluded that due to the lack of any statistical or quantitative evidence, it is difficult to consider the impact of the law on different population groups to determine whether the impact is meaningful; however, the court still considered hearsay evidence and drew from the evidence provided Based on generous estimates, it was concluded that the law would only affect a relatively small number of voters. However, the Ninth Circuit overturned the District Court’s conclusion that the law did not make it a clear mistake that “compared with non-minorities, there is no meaningful inequality in election opportunities for minorities”.

This background makes it difficult for Idaho and other states to effectively perform their duties to provide safe, reliable, and fair elections. When all that is required is evidence of different influences and can be proved by anecdotal evidence, how can a country defend its claim that its laws restrict the voting opportunities of a minority of voters? This test will overturn the balance between state and federal powers established by the Constitution, allowing the federal judiciary to invalidate almost any state law that regulates registration and voting.

The state is the entity entrusted with elections. Countries must be given space to promulgate and enforce generally applicable neutral laws to conduct these elections. The Supreme Court should reject the standard of proof that puts broad state laws at risk and inappropriately makes the federal judiciary the micromanager of the state electoral system.

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