Editorial: SCOTUS ruling is a victory for voting rights and democracy – Beaumont Enterprise

For lovers of democracy, the moment was sweet and propitious.

Sixteen months before the presidential elections, the The Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling that protects voters against what could have been a smear attack on the electoral process.

In a 6-3 vote on June 27, the high court rejected the “independent state legislature” theory that would have given states nearly unlimited power to set federal election rules while allowing them to draw maps of the state. Congress with partisan manipulation.

The ruling was a huge victory for voting rights, allowing voters to retain the power that the theory tries to take away from them.

“(The Constitution) does not exempt state legislatures from the ordinary restrictions imposed by state law,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion.

Propagated by Republican politicians, the independent state legislature theory is simple and dangerous: an attempt by a few to silence the voices of the majority. It was born out of “the big lie” that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. The lies could have metastasized had the court not intervened.

The defenders of the theory, using the Constitution as a smoke screen, focus on the electoral clause, which establishes that “the hours, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives will be prescribed in each state by the legislature of the same”. No other body or individual can intrude on the authority of the state legislature, according to this distorted theory. No court, no secretary of state, nobody.

Roberts rejected this notion, and the timing could not have been more favorable for our democracy. Legal experts agreed. The theory would have dismantled the guardrails that protect voters from politicians seeking to ensure victories for their preferred candidates.

“The Elections Clause does not insulate state legislatures from the ordinary exercise of state judicial review,” Roberts wrote.

Although the reaction may depend on your political affiliation, the ruling should be especially encouraging for Texas voters. The decision, legal experts say, should prevent other officials from following the same reckless path as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election through legal, albeit bogus, means. Similar efforts may be history.

Paxton, a Republican who was suspended while impeached on bribery charges, questioned the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The discussion was charged with emotion, light on evidence. The high court, acknowledging the absurdity, ruled that Texas “lacked standing.”

The most recent case arose after a North Carolina state court rejected rigged electoral districts early last year. It was a short-lived triumph for lovers of democracy. The 2020 election gave the North Carolina Legislature a Republican majority, and the reconstituted state Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s ruling.

“The questions posed in this area are complex and context-specific,” Roberts wrote in his majority opinion. “We only hold that state courts cannot transgress the ordinary limits of judicial review.”

Most legal experts hailed the decision as a triumph.

“In its most extreme form, the independent state legislature theory could have weakened the foundations of our democracy, removing crucial control over state legislatures and making it easier for rogue legislators to enact policies that suppress voters,” Abha Khanna, a attorney representing the North Carolina plaintiffs, they said in a statement.

The ruling, however, comes with a caveat. How do you determine when state legislatures have undermined voter rights? The decision is left to the higher court, and with the departure of the old judges and the arrival of new judges, a different court could reach a different determination.

Still, the decision represents a significant if potentially short-lived victory. Democracy has been saved. For now.

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Raven Asher

Hey there, I'm Raven Asher, a writer and blogger currently studying at McMaster University. My passion lies in arts and culture, and I love exploring and sharing my thoughts on different aspects of this field through my writing. I've been fortunate enough to have my articles featured on several blogs and news websites, which has allowed me to connect with readers from all over the world. Apart from writing, I'm also an avid traveler, and I love experiencing different cultures and learning new things. Join me on my journey as I explore the world and share my insights on everything art and culture!

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