With the nomination and elevation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench, many on the Left knew bad rulings were to come. Going back to the Obama administration, this is why Republicans blocked Merrick Garland for over 170 days - to make decisions like the one that just came down much more likely.
So what did the Supreme Court just give the greenlight to? On Monday, the Court released its ruling in the case of Hustad v. A. Philip Randolph Institute which was a major voting rights case involving a State's right to purge voters from the voting rolls if they don't vote consistently enough. Clearly, applying a "use it, or lose it" clause to voting rights is anti-democratic to most observers - not to the Supreme Court, however.
It was a 5-4 decision. Gorsuch sided with four other conservative judicial activists to say that Ohio and other states may conduct aggressive purges of voter rolls, with an eye toward removing the names of qualified voters who have failed to cast ballots in every election.
IF VOTING DIDN’T MATTER, THEY WOULDN’T BE TRYING TO TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO DO IT.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) June 12, 2018
There are few things more important to the maintenance of the democratic process than protecting the right to vote. Keeping America honest involves being able to put in who you want to represent you. However, all throughout American history the right to vote has been under consistent and heavy assault.
It is harder to maintain systems of oppression when the masses have equal and easy access to the ballot box and corrupt, racist politicians understand this. Voting rights is a Top 3 issue for me and I don't believe enough voices on the Left understand how black people not having easy access to the ballot box actually makes it much less likely that progressives win. Why? It's because black people, especially black women, are some of the most progressive people in the country and polling data bears this out. Black voters are the foundation of the current Democratic Party and Republicans know this.
The Right-Wing Is Fine With Taking Away Black Rights
I recently made a video explaining why Democracy is on its last legs in America. It boils down to a large segment of white America equating democracy with the success of non-White groups and therefore not liking it as much as they used to when democracy was synonymous with white control. It was only representative of white domination and control because white Americans had a large majority and could flex their will on smaller groups. Not to mention before the Civil Rights movement, non-White people didn't have easy access to the ballot box. So white America used democracy for generations to maintain social control of black people and other groups by electing racist politicians who would engage in social engineering via electoral white supremacy.
Well, now that's changed. They don't have the supermajorities around the country that they used to and non-Whites overwhelmingly vote for politicians that the majority of white Americans don't support (namely liberal Democrats). I often times tell the story about how Obama got re-elected in 2012 and the majority of white America voted for Mitt Romney. We underestimate the shockwave that Obama's re-election sent through white America when they realized black and brown people could organize against them politically.
Why today’s Ohio case matters: after gutting Voting Rights Act, Republicans now weakening National Voter Registration Act in order to do mass voter purging. Huge threat to democracy https://t.co/QrcNMlVvqa
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) June 11, 2018
So black people are living in a world where our rights are not being protected and the highest Court in the land is participating in voter suppression that will disproportionately impact black voters.
It has been past time to question America' democratic legitimacy and rulings like this prove that.
Selective Democracy Is Not True Democracy
The Supreme Court's decision is worse than Voter ID. Voter ID at least says you can vote as long as you jump through hoops to get an identification card. This ruling makes it legal for states to literally take away the right to vote from American's simply because they don't vote on a regular basis.
The notion that you can lose something that is a right is anti-democratic and this puts an asterisk mark on voting rights and American democracy. I fully expect similar policies to be enacted in Republican states across the nation in the lead up to the 2018 midterms. It appears that the far-right understands that the only way they'll be able to maintain power is by gutting the voting rights of all groups that don't think the way they do.
There is no other way to view this other than the implementation of selective democracy - and selective democracy is pseudo-democracy. America has always been selectively-democratic, but what's clear is that post-Civil Rights, there are many groups working to maintain white conservative domination of American politics and roll back the gains of the 1960's.
No good will come out of this decision and we need to understand that voting rights are "ground zero" in the present-day culture wars which Trump and his far-right cronies are waging in all-out asymmetrical warfare.