The modern Republican party, and the conservative movement that gives the party its only real energy, never has been down with this whole right-to-vote business — except, of course, as an equal-protection dodge in Bush v. Gore. The current Chief Justice, John Roberts, kick-started his rise in conservative politics by working to undermine the Voting Rights Act as a lawyer in Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department.
You really have to admire how they’ve done it. First, they turn our elections into a plutocrat’s playground (Citizens United, McCutcheon). Then they uphold in the main voter-suppression tactics designed by the candidates the newly corrupt system produces out in the states (Crawford). Then, they gut any remedy that the people against whom these new laws discriminate have in federal court (Shelby County.) And now, it appears, the day of Jubilee having been declared, the circle may be closing for good.
The court’s ruling, expected in 2016, could be immensely consequential. Should the court agree with the two Texas voters who brought the case, its ruling would shift political power from cities to rural areas, a move that would benefit Republicans. The court has never resolved whether voting districts should have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters. Counting all people amplifies the voting power of places with large numbers of residents who cannot vote legally, including immigrants who are here legally but are not citizens, illegal immigrants, children and prisoners. Those places tend to be urban and to vote Democratic. A ruling that districts must be based on equal numbers of voters would move political power away from cities, with their many immigrants and children, and toward older and more homogeneous rural areas.
More: The Final Nail in the Coffin: One Man, One Vote, No More