Legal experts warn of 'grave peril' after the Supreme Court's latest rulings affecting the heart of democracy

​U.S. Supreme Court, 2021
U.S. Supreme Court, 2021
Frontpage news and politics

Chief Justice John Roberts let the U.S. Supreme Court's calendar slip into July, to allow time to hand down decisions in two cases that history may see as especially critical to the future of actual democracy in America, or rather, to ending actual democracy in America.

Legal and voting rights experts blasted the Roberts Court's final decisions of the October 2020 term.

On Thursday the Court's six conservative justices, five of whom were appointed by Republican presidents who had not won the popular vote when they entered the White House, joined together against the remaining three liberal justices, to make it even harder to vote, to make dark money even more prevalent in American elections, and to warn those who are fighting for the right to vote to not challenge the current slate of voter restriction laws sweeping the country.

As The New York Times put it, one of Thursday's decisions was "a test of what remains of the Voting Rights Act," declaring the Supreme Court today "suggested that challenges to many new measures making it harder to vote may not be successful."

Ari Berman, one of America's voting rights experts and author of "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America," expressed frustration after the day's decisions were handed down.

Is Berman being hyperbolic?


Ezra Klein, in his New York Times opinion piece Thursday titled "The Rest of the World Is Worried About America," spoke to scholars of democracy from other countries.

"I'm positive that American democracy is not what Americans think it is," David Altman, a political scientist in Chile, told me. "There is a cognitive dissonance between what American citizens believe their institutions are and what they actually are."

Klein puts a somewhat optimistic spin, if that's possible, on the state of democracy in America, or at least, its future, but it's impossible to dismiss this:

"The thing that makes me really worried is how similar what's going on in the U.S. looks to a series of countries in the world where democracy has really taken a big toll and, in many cases, died," Staffan Lindberg, a Swedish political scientist who directs the Varieties of Democracy Institute, said. "I'm talking about countries like Hungary under Orban, Turkey in the early days of Erdogan's rule, Modi in India, and I can go down the line."

But back to today's SCOTUS decisions.

Here's what other experts are saying.

Elie Mystal, a frequent guest on MSNBC and the Justice Correspondent at The Nation writes (or, appropriately, screams):

Berman had more to say:

Rick Hasen, one of the nation's top election law experts and a Professor of Law and Political Science at UC Irvine, sums up today's decision in the voting restriction case as "something very, very bad":

"The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, has severely weakened Section 2 of the Voting rights Act as a tool to fight against laws that make it harder to register and vote," he adds.

Sam Levine, Voting rights reporter at The Guardian:

And Mark Joseph Stern, who writes on the law and the courts for Slate, declared the Court handed down "two gut punches to democracy."

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