Democrats are out of options now for the moment in their pursuit of voting rights. In a time when Republicans are continuously proposing new restrictions in the election laws using their powers given to them by the Supreme Court in the ruling of the Shelby County vs. Holder, Democrats are just watching the show.
But this is the golden opportunity for Democrats, as Joe Manchin has bandwagoned with them to pursue the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
A senator who is often known as a Republican plant in the Democratic ranks has never endorsed any other such effort, including the landmark HR1 bill.
But the presence of conservative justices on the highest benches of the Supreme Court is an overhanging sword on Democrats. These justices can strike down any Democratic effort in a matter of seconds.
How can the John Lewis Voting Rights Act put a full stop to Republicans’ efforts of voter suppression? Let’s see.
Shelby County vs. Holder Case: The Actual Need of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act
The Shelby County vs. Holder case of 2013 paved the way for voter suppression in the United States. Red states found it as an opportunity to pursue white hegemony by suppressing Black votes in their bid to legitimize their ruthless rule.
The voting rights act of 1965 was undoubtedly the best thing that happened in the electoral history of the United States.
But the Shelby County vs. Holder case diluted the powers of the federal government in crafting laws regarding national discourse.
The decision made Section 4 b of the voting rights act null and void, declaring it unconstitutional. Had the provision not been invalidated, Republicans would have required federal preclearance while crafting their Jim Crow laws.
Without the approval of the federal government, Republicans would have found it impossible to change election laws even in their states.
Democrats are running against time now. While their efforts to federalize the elections through HR1 have been halted, primarily from their own ranks, led by Joe Manchin, they need a rather different approach this time to address the issue.
Digging Down the Verdict is the Key to Success for Democrats
They need to dig deep within the Shelby County vs. Holder verdict. The Supreme Court did not categorically rule out the federal preclearance in elections. Instead, it invalidated the formula that was used to access which states and counties would need this preclearance.
The Chief Justice opined that Congress is free to come up with a new formula. Now, this is the hack for Democrats. They need to pursue a new formula to put at least some curbs on the voter suppression efforts of Republican states.
Democrats often found themselves in the dead-end tunnel due to the presence of the likes of Joe Manchin among themselves. Ideally, the path to federalize the elections for Democrats is simple. All they have to do is to wrap up the filibuster, and they are good to go. However, with Joe Manchin in the Senate, they cannot go that route.
But Joe Manchin is ready to show his support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. With him, Democrats can pursue the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, trying to reform the formula that the Chief Justice wrapped up.
Rising Conservatism is the Curse for Democrats
Even if Democrats successfully gather at least ten Republicans to vote in their favor, they would face the highly conservative court ahead. Chief Justice John Roberts, along with other conservative justices, is ready to strike down legislation that aims to expand voting rights.
If Democrats craft any formula nominating some specific states for scrutiny, the Chief Justice is likely to strike down the legislation, raising the issue of discrimination against the states.
The only thing Democrats could pursue is to require preclearance for all the fifty states. This way, the Chief Justice will have few reasons to strike the formula back.
Democrats are running against the time, which is evident from the fact that the conservative Supreme Court is assisting Republicans in promoting their agenda in different states.
Despite launching the lawsuits against them, Democrats’ hopes are small with so much conservatism embedded in the highest benches.
With a Chief Justice having a history of voter suppression, he is likely to pursue an all-out assault against any voting rights efforts.
This is also one of the reasons why Democrats are discouraged from pursuing any legal avenue. Even if they drive too many resources in passing the legislation, the Supreme Court is always ready to strike down the laws due to the judicial interpretation powers.