An Ominous Move in a Country Built on White Supremacy:
Supreme Court Upholds Voter Suppression



On July 1, the Supreme Court, stacked with fascist Trump appointees, upheld two Arizona laws aimed at voter suppression.

One of the laws throws out ballots of people who vote in a district where they registered but no longer live. The other bans third parties from collecting and turning in ballots from people who may not be able to get to a voting location. The court upheld these laws despite undisputed evidence that they disproportionately created obstacles to Black, Latino and Native American people being able to vote.

Beyond the injustice in this specific ruling, the Court set dangerous precedents for disenfranchising Black, Latino and Native American people.

Gutting the Already Crippled Voting Rights Act

For generations Black people were denied the right to vote in the South through law and terror. That only changed with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And that Act was only passed after heroic struggle and sacrifice of people who risked, and gave their lives in a movement that exposed the white supremacist nature of this country to the world.

The Voting Rights Act was crippled in 2013 when the Supreme Court threw out Section 4 of the Act which required that states with a record of keeping Black people from voting get federal approval before instituting new rules on who could vote and how. The Supreme Court ruling in the Arizona case makes things much worse. It allows laws to stay in effect even after it has been proven they disproportionately prevent or discourage people of color from voting.

Opponents of the Arizona law that throws out votes cast by people outside of the district where they are registered presented proof that the percentage of Black, Latino and Native Americans whose votes were thrown out was twice as high as the rate for whites. “Justice” Alito, dismissed that uncontested evidence with the “argument” that the absolute number of minority voters whose ballots were disproportionally thrown out (out of thousands of disallowed ballots) was not high. Supreme Court rulings set precedents—standards by which lower courts will make rulings. Regardless of how many people were affected by this law, their right to vote was taken away. And, the precedent set here is that laws that disproportionately keep people of color from voting are constitutional and legal.

In upholding the other Arizona law, the one greatly restricting the ability of third parties to collect and turn in ballots, the Court dismissed—while not refuting—evidence that third-party ballot collection tends to be used most heavily in disadvantaged communities and that minorities in Arizona—especially Native Americans—are disproportionately disadvantaged.

Ominous Implications

This Supreme Court ruling came down as the Republi-fascists are inciting millions with the big lie that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election. While not overtly repeating that, the Supreme Court ruling is filled with references to the supposed danger of “voter fraud.”*

And the ruling came as Republican-controlled states around the country race to pass voter ID laws, limits on absentee voting, obstacles to voter registration, and purges of voter rolls that greatly disenfranchise voters of color. Already this year, 28 laws restricting voting have passed in 17 states. The Arizona ruling sends a message to lower courts who will be ruling on the constitutionality of those laws that it is open season on the very basic right of Black people (as well as Latinos and Native Americans) to vote.

These developments are very significant—even though voting and elections fundamentally are not the way the monumental struggles we now face will be decided. Even in “normal times,” elections do not and cannot serve to eliminate the basic relations of exploitation and oppression in this society. They serve two main purposes that in fact work against doing that. First, they are one means through which different sections of the ruling class contend over how to uphold and pursue the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system and the rule by the capitalist class. Second, they serve to feed the illusion among the people that they can “have a say in decision-making” and somehow reform those deep-seated oppressive relations in a meaningful way through the exercise of voting for which member of the ruling class will administer the machinery of oppression.

But these are not normal times. It is worthwhile here to cite A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution:

Those who have ruled over us, for so long, with their Republican and Democratic parties, are now caught up in bitterly fighting each other over how to hold this country together, keep this system going, enforce its rule over the people it exploits and oppresses, and maintain this country as the world’s top-dog oppressive power. The Republicans are moving to exercise this rule through fascism: discarding the pretense of “democracy for all,” relying on naked brutality and trampling on people’s rights, to enforce undisguised, aggressive male supremacy, white supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners and persecution of immigrants, especially from non-white countries) and crude “America first” chauvinism.

This decision is part and parcel of that program. But the Declaration and Call goes on immediately to say that:

The Democrats are trying to keep things together with more disguise and deception, with the claim that what exists in this country is a “great democracy” representing “the will of the people,” and for this reason it deserves to be, and needs to be, the most powerful force in the world. But, in reality, both of these ruling class parties are working to maintain the violent oppressive power, the dictatorship, of this capitalist-imperialist system, with all the horrors for humanity this involves.

These divisions and conflicts have ripped big holes in the camouflage of this system, further exposing its real nature and the lie that this is “the greatest country in the world,” the “shining light of freedom” and “leader of the free world.” All this is very likely to become more and more intense, tearing apart the bonds that have held things together under this system and further deepening the divisions throughout society, including within the institutions of power. This could lead to something very bad—or something very good, IF we act in the way we need to in these rare circumstances and fight to take things where they need to go.

This decision by the Supreme Court is yet one more ringing alarm clock of a wake-up call that we must indeed now get organized to do just what is said above—“fight to take things where they need to go.” To a real revolution.


* For example, the ruling says that even though “there was no evidence of early ballot fraud in Arizona… a State may take action to prevent election fraud without waiting for it to occur within its own borders.” In other words, legal arguments branded as “action to prevent election fraud” without any evidence that significant fraud occurred, overrule actual evidence that a law disenfranchises people of color (the entire ruling is available online).  [back]


State troopers violently attacked the peaceful demonstrators in an attempt to stop the march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama March 7, 1965, a day known as Bloody Sunday.

The Voting Rights Act was crippled in 2013 when the Supreme Court threw out Section 4 of the Act which required that states with a record of keeping Black, Brown or Native people from voting get federal approval before instituting new rules on who could vote and how. People protest this setback at the Supreme Court.



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