On Thursday the Supreme Court upheld two provisions of an Arizona voting law that restrict how ballots can be cast, saying that they do not violate the historic Voting Rights Act that bars regulations that result in racial discrimination.
SC Justice Samuel Alito delivered the majority opinion.
Alito said that while the Voting Rights Act provides “vital protection against discriminatory voting rules, and no one suggests that discrimination in voting has been extirpated or that the threat has been eliminated … Section Two of the law does not deprive the States of their authority to establish non-discriminatory voting rules.” And touching on arguments made by Republicans and Trump, Alito said that “one strong an entirely legitimate state interest is the prevention of fraud.”
“Fraud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight” Alito wrote, adding that fraud can “also undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and the perceived legitimacy of the announced outcome.”
Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissenting opinion for herself, Sotomayor and Breyer.
“The law that confronted one of this country’s most enduring wrongs; pledged to give every American, of every race, an equal chance to participate in our democracy,” Kagan said, “deserves the sweep and power Congress gave it.”
“That law, of all laws, should not be diminished by this Court, ” she added.
Joe Biden said he was deeply disappointed in the ruling.
“In a span of just eight years, the Court has now done severe damage to two of the most important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a law that took years of struggle and strife to secure,” Biden said in a statement. “After all we have been through to deliver the promise of this Nation to all Americans, we should be fully enforcing voting rights laws, not weakening them.”