With the critical 2018 midterm elections nearing, the U.S. Supreme Court appears to be making every effort to harm the vote of people of color by giving the Republicans an unfair advantage. Conservative and liberal justices are on opposite sides in key rulings, with the court’s sole Black judge, Clarence Thomas, once again siding with the conservative majority.
The high court on Monday ruled in favor of North Carolina and Texas GOP lawmakers who created controversial congressional district maps intended to improve their party’s chances of winning elections in this fall’s midterms.
Under the rulings, the justices kicked the North Carolina case back to a lower court, which had previously ruled that the state’s GOP-dominated legislature rigged the districts in favor of their party. North Carolina has a long history of suppressing the Black vote.
In the Texas ruling, the high court, in a 5-4 decision, approved three of four district maps, which voting rights advocates said were intentionally discriminatory to voters of color.
In assessing this terms’ cases involving gerrymandering, or manipulating natural geographic boundaries to form unfair election districts, the Supreme Court has granted “states more flexibility and deference in drawing congressional and state district lines,” said CNN legal analyst and University of Texas Law School professor Steve Vladeck.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, criticized Thomas’ interpretation of the Voting Rights Act, which was intended to eliminate the racial discrimination against African-Americans, in the Texas decision.
“Justice Thomas issues paragraph-long concurrence today (June 25) in Abott v Perez to reiterate his view that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act does not apply to redistricting. Redistricting is one of the primary tools used to harm minority voters. Infuriating race-blind perspective,” Clarke tweeted before sending this warning: