Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wants you to think that his decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is about restoring democracy.
The court’s 1973 Roe decision, in which justices voted 7-2 to legalize abortion nationwide, “short-circuited the democratic process by locking in large numbers of Americans who disagreed with Roe in any way.” Were,” Alito wrote in a draft opinion leaked to Politico. Reversing the row, therefore, “would return the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote. He is expected to be joined by four other conservative judges.
However, Alito’s approval for democratic decision-making is false. Since taking his lifelong seat on the court in 2006, Alito has repeatedly sided against voting rights. He and his fellow conservative justices removed barriers to partisan gerrymandering that limits people’s ability to choose representatives who reflect their preferences. He also supported decisions that affected the protection of important voting rights for minority communities. And, in disagreements he wrote or joined, he advocated for even greater limits on the ability of the people to choose their representatives.
These conditions indicate a vision of democracy that prevents people from electing representatives to decide issues that the court can so bravely return to them.
He is not the only one holding these positions. Nearly all of the six conservative justices would prefer to further dilute voting rights protections and make it even more difficult for anyone to challenge partisan or racial gerrymandering.
In the 2019 Rucho v. Common Cause decision, Alito joined an opinion piece by Chief Justice John Roberts that closed the doors of federal courts to complaints of partisan gerrymandering. Alito also joined in Roberts’ 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which affected Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required states with a history of racial discrimination to make any changes to election laws and district maps to the federal government. Required to obtain “pre-permission” from
As a result of these positions, Republicans have obtained a legislative majority at the state level that far outweighs their share of the popular vote across the state.
Take Wisconsin, where an 1849 law banning abortion would apply if the Supreme Court ultimately overturns Roe v. Wade. Despite its swing state status, state assembly and state senate district maps favor Republicans in such a way that it is practically impossible for Democrats to win control of either chamber.
In 2012, Republicans won only 46% of the statewide vote in legislative elections, but took 60% of seats in both houses. The Wisconsin GOP lost the statewide popular vote again for the 2018 assembly elections, gaining only 45% of the vote but holding 65% of the seats. In election years when the GOP won the statewide popular vote, it consistently took 10% more seats than the total popular vote percentage.
Republicans need to win only 44%-45% of the statewide popular vote to gain control of the state assembly, according to a report by five political science researchers from Binghamton University. That means Democrats need to win 55%-56% to come close to securing a majority.
“A lot of election results are just unfortunate,” researchers said in a 2016 Washington Post op-ed. “This is not one of them.”
Similarly, Republicans won a legislative majority in 2018, losing the popular vote in Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The latest round of redistribution is making the problem worse, as the new maps have fewer competing districts than ever before. This is an especially obvious problem in states with rapid population growth, especially where that growth is fueled almost entirely by racial minorities.
Look at Texas, where racial minorities accounted for 95% of the state’s population growth from 2010 to 2020, according to US Census data. The state now has a population of 39.8% White, 39.3% Latino, 11.8% Black, and 5.4% Asian, but its new state legislative map heavily favors the state’s white residents. According to The Texas Tribune, sixty-five percent of the new map’s state legislative districts are majority white, while Latinos are in the majority in just 18.4% of the districts, despite parity in the total state population.
In terms of partisanship, the new maps drawn up by Republicans who run the state government consolidate their majority despite the state’s increased competition at the national level. There are almost no competing seats in the legislative maps of the state. Donald Trump won the most competitive state House seat in 2020 by 7.9%. There are only four Democratic-held seats statewide that Democrats have won by 5 percentage points or less. The new state senate maps are even less competitive.
“Politicians have become so good at making political maps that they are sabotaging democracy,” the Tribune reported in a review of Texas maps’ lack of competitiveness.
A similar dynamic is underway in Georgia, where racial minorities now make up 48% of the statewide population, while the non-Latino white population declined from 59% in 2010 to 52% in 2020. The black population in the state increased by 12.5%. , the Latino population increased by 31.6%, and the Asian population increased by 52.3%, while the White population decreased by 4%. But the state Republican map failed to provide enough new majority-minority seats to match the state’s minority population growth.
The Supreme Court has had a direct role in all these maps. Prior to the court’s Shelby County decision in 2013, neither Georgia nor Texas state legislative maps would have gone into effect without being pre-cleared for racial discrimination considerations by the Justice Department or federal courts. But that decision, which pitted five conservatives against the court’s then four liberals, hit the preclearance section and opened the door to the weakening of the political power of racial minorities taking place in Georgia and Texas.
Civil and voting rights advocates are still challenging these and other maps under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which still stands. It is unknown how the current Supreme Court will respond to such legal challenges, but the court has been hostile to voting rights laws for more than a decade. The increased confidence in their positions, which comes with a six-vote conservative ultra-majority, should greatly worry voting rights advocates.
And while we don’t know whether the court will further limit the ways voters can choose their own elected representatives, we do know the ways that Alito and other conservative justices make it even more difficult for them to do so. want to make.
in 2015 Arizona State Legislature vs. Arizona Independent Redistribution Commission The case, written by Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas Roberts, became involved in a disagreement that argued that the independent redistribution commissions created to produce competitive, non-partisan district maps were unconstitutional. They were on the losing side then, but will probably be on the winning side today.
That’s because it interested at least four conservative judges. independent state legislature principle, This dubious theory states that the US Constitution forbids any body other than the state legislature to have any say in the matter of elections. Not only would this make independent redistribution commissions unconstitutional, but it would also bar state courts from reviewing state election laws or district maps for any violations of the state’s constitution. The people would then have no way of challenging the power of the partisan state legislatures to create their own districts. This position is supported by Alito, Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch, while Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the court should take up a case on the issue.
These posts reflect the kind of democracy that Alito wants to “return the abortion issue”. This is where the ability of voters to choose their elected representatives is highly limited in an irreversible way. It is a democracy where racial minorities are not provided with equal rights of representation.
If it reverses the row, the court will not return the abortion issue to the “people.” As the court draws its own line as to who the “people” can be—the people who can actually access elected representation—alito and conservative supremacy, which is protected by three justices appointed by the president, elected by a minority of people, Will have to return it to people of our own design.