The conservatives on the Supreme Court have done serious damage to the 15th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution and to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, all of which deny the right to vote on the basis of race. In a case called Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the court’s six conservatives—three of them put in place by Donald Trump—declared that an Arizona law which enacted voter restrictions could stand. One restriction outlawed “ballot harvesting”—which is Republican nomenclature for someone giving their mail-in ballot to somebody else to walk it to the drop-off location. The other allowed the state to discard votes accidentally cast at the wrong polling place. Both restrictions affect voters of color disproportionately.
We are now seeing the Trump effect writ large. The Supreme Court is no longer a neutral arbiter guaranteeing equal justice for all. It has become an instrument of the minority party—Republicans are greatly outnumbered by Democrats—which will assure that the interests of the well-to-do are protected.
The court’s judgment, enunciated earlier this week, has renewed the calls to expand the court and to limit the term of a judge so as to restore its progressive-conservative balance. I don’t claim to be enough of a legal scholar to know if the proposed changes would help or hurt the court. The only thing I can be sure of is the Trump’s presidency has left behind it permanent damage.