GOP Loses Big Voter Suppression Case In Federal Court
A federal court has rejected an appeal from the Republican National Committee to modify a 30-year-old legal agreement that prevented it from engaging in one of the most offensive forms of voter suppression: targeting minority voters whose credentials were to be challenged once they enter polling places.
The unanimous opinion of the three-judge-court of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was a stunning rebuke of an ongoing effort by the RNC to use any means necessary to game the outcome of elections.
"The RNC asks that our court vacate a decree that has as its central purpose preventing the intimidation and suppression of minority voters," the Court's discussion of the case began. "When, as here, a party voluntarily enters into a consent decree not once, but twice, and then waits over a quarter of a century before filing a motion to vacate to modify the decree, such action gives us pause... At present, appellant [the RNC] seeks review of the District Court's order denying vacatur because it prefers not to comply with the Consent Decree at a critical political juncture -- the upcoming election cycle."
In other words, the RNC was hoping to remove the legal bind it agreed to three decades ago so that it could obstruct the voting process in 2012's swing states. The RNC knows that new voters might be discouraged from voting because they would not want to assert their voting rights if faced with polling place challenger. Moreover, the RNC also knows that any delays in voting, such as long lines, would likely prompt other would-be voters to go home.
According to University of California-Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen, it is likely the RNC will appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.