Talking Points

The Supreme Court's potentially explosive voting rights case

With the current Supreme Court term nearly at an end, just one potentially blockbuster decision remains, and it could be a doozy. That's because the case deals with voting rights, and voting rights may be the most incendiary issue confronting the country right now.

Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee deals with two issues: First, does Arizona's out-of precinct policy, which discards ballots cast outside of the voter's designated precinct, violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA); second, does Arizona's ballot-collection law, which forbids anyone other than the voter him- or herself from handling a completed early ballot, violate the same section of the VRA or the 15th Amendment.

According to SCOTUSblog, during oral arguments in March it seemed like a majority of the justices were ready to uphold both provisions, which Democrats describe as forms of vote suppression. That would be controversial enough to inspire considerable outrage among liberals and progressives. But the severity of the outrage will also be determined by how narrow or broad the ruling turns out to be.

On that question, Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics weighed in on Monday with some informed speculation that the most likely author of a majority opinion in the case is conservative Samuel Alito. An Alito-authored opinion wouldn't guarantee a sweeping decision that established leeway under the VRA for states to disqualify voters and ballots for a broader range of reasons. But it would certainly be compatible with such a result.

Just what America needs less than six months after the Jan. 6 insurrection and attempted reversal of the 2020 presidential election: A landmark Supreme Court decision strengthening the hand of Republican-controlled states in their efforts to increase restrictions on voting.