“Is Bethune-Hill a Major Voting Rights Victory or the Next Northwest Austin?”

Michael Parsons:

I agree with Pildes and Elias that Bethune-Hill is a significant decision that is likely to have profound consequences. But is this big news also good news? We’ll see. Many leading authorities foresee the Supreme Court growing increasingly hostile to voting rights claims, and even the more liberal wing of the Court seems exhausted by the crush of complex and fact-intensive redistricting cases. Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Bethune will—despite his entreaties to the contrary—do nothing to stem this tide. In the end, whether Bethune-Hill is viewed as a major voting rights victory or the next Northwest Austin will depend on how VRA advocates and opponents use it—and with whom the Supreme Court ultimately agrees in the years ahead.


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