Newly minted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s approval of voter suppression laws was not needed in a high court ruling on Tuesday which allowed a state to enforce its voter ID requirement for the 2018 elections.
The court declined to overrule an appeals court order that permitted North Dakota to require government ID at the polls, The Hill reported. A group of Native Americans had challenged the ID requirement.
Looking ahead, Kavanaugh brings a record on voter suppression cases that makes the court even less sympathetic to the concerns of people of color. Indeed, during his confirmation process, People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy group, warned that Kavanaugh “will threaten hard-won protections for the right to vote.”
“The question is not whether Justice Kavanaugh will move the court in a more conservative and hostile direction on constitutional and civil rights, but instead how swiftly he will do so and how sweeping will the court’s rulings be,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement to NewsOne.
The Native American group argued that the ID law disproportionately affected their population because a significant number of Native Americans live on reservations without standard address required to obtain the IDs.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Elena Kagan joined.
As an appellate court judge, Kavanaugh “demonstrated his lack of commitment to racial justice” in a 2012 South Carolina voter ID case, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said.
Kavanaugh wrote an opinion for a three-judge panel upholding a South Carolina voter ID law that was objected to by the U.S. Department of Justice because of the significant racial disparities in the law’s photo ID requirement, the Leadership Conference explained. The ruling affected approximately 60,000 nonwhite voters who were previously registered.