Apr 25, 2023
What SCOTUS will do this term, and what they decide in June, will determine a lot of our ability to keep some basic human rights in a democracy - and the three cases that we’re going to be talking about also may impact you, regardless of what state you’re in.
Back in Episode 108, “Why we all should be concerned about voter suppression,” we talked a LOT about the history of voting rights in this country, the need for the Voting Rights Act (hint: it comes back to racism), and how voter suppression was currently happening in this country. And… while we’d like to say that here in 2023 things have changed, they have not, given that two of the three cases that we’re talking about in this episode deal directly with the right to vote. The third addresses LGBTQ+ rights, but could be interpreted to limit rights much more broadly, and in all 50 states.
So listen up, because we’re going to be breaking down three key cases and why you should be following these decisions when they’re released in June.
What to listen for:
Moore v. Harper and the independent state legislature theory - which basically would claim that only the state legislature itself has the power to set the rules. The theory claims that the state legislatures’ power is so exclusive that they can ignore the requirements of their own state constitution. Would impact gerrymandering and voting rights dramatically.
Merrill v. Milligan, where lawyers are suggesting that the Voting Rights Act prohibits denying votes on account of race but does not affirmatively obligate states to redistrict on account of race. Means that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Alabama, not only was their racially discriminatory congressional map allowed to go into effect, but Louisiana may suffer the same fate - and you bet if this case removes 40 years of precedent that has gone the other way, it won’t just be Louisiana and Alabama that will be challenging Section 2 of the VRA.
303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, where we’ll hear whether some businesses should be free to deny certain clients due to their owners’ freedom of speech that allegedly stretches to their commercial activities. Witness a decline in LGBTQ+ rights, and eventually, potentially, whether the high court will explicitly endorse a double standard that tolerates discrimination against LGBTQ people while enforcing laws banning discrimination based on race… or not…