From today’s New York Times:
A panel of three federal judges last week issued a scathing opinion directing the state of Alabama to comply with the Voting Rights Act. It was the latest development in a saga in which the state has repeatedly flouted the requirements of the Voting Rights Act and the rulings of federal courts, up to and including the Supreme Court.
Despite the judges’ admonishment, Alabama did not back down. In fact, it doubled down, immediately filing a notice of appeal and asking first the lower court and then the Supreme Court to put the ruling against it on hold (to preserve the possibility of using the state legislature’s map).
Alabama’s appeal confronts the Supreme Court with a profound test. The case may appear to involve a set of technical questions about one state’s legislative map. But it is more fundamentally about whether the Supreme Court should still be viewed as in any sense standing outside politics. Facing a crisis in public confidence, the court should take the opportunity to regain some of its rapidly dwindling legitimacy by sending a clear message that even its ideological fellow travelers do not get a pass from abiding by its rulings.
Alabama’s conduct in this case also reveals just how serious a problem discrimination against Black voters remains — and thus how vital the Voting Rights Act is today. The Supreme Court’s response will thus have implications beyond the bounds of this case — and it will be measured for what it reveals about both the court’s legitimacy and the future of the Voting Rights Act.
Read the complete story here.