“The Entirely Preventable Battles Raging Over Voting Rights”

Matt Ford for The Atlantic:

Four years later, a series of lawsuits and legal challenges in states formerly covered by preclearance suggest the country perhaps hasn’t changed as much as Roberts thought. Had the provision, Section 4(b), remained intact, it would have largely forestalled the courtroom battles over election laws that have engulfed multiple Southern states.

The foremost example came earlier this week in Texas, where a federal district court handed the state’s controversial voter ID bill a major defeat in a long-running legal dispute over whether it violates the VRA. The evidence presented to the court “establishes that a discriminatory purpose was at least one of the substantial or motivating factors” behind the bill’s passage, federal judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos wrote in her order in Veasey v. Abbott. “Consequently, the burden shifted to the state to demonstrate that the law would have been enacted without its discriminatory purpose. The state has not met its burden.”

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