5th Circuit, Sitting En Banc, Upholds Mississippi’s Felon Disenfranchisement Law Despite Finding It was Originally Enacted with Racially Discriminatory Intent, Finding 1968 Reauthorization Free of Such Intent (!)

You can find the per curiam opinion at this link.

From the primary dissent by Judge Graves:

In 1890, Mississippi held a constitutional convention with the express aim of enshrining white supremacy. The 1890 Convention was a backlash against Reconstruction-era efforts to remedy centuries of chattel slavery and violence against Black people. The Convention was successful. The new constitution erased racial progress in Mississippi primarily through disenfranchising Black voters, formally beginning the Jim Crow era of the American South. Today the en banc majority upholds a provision enacted in 1890 that was expressly aimed at preventing Black Mississippians from voting. And it does so by concluding that a virtually all-white electorate and legislature, otherwise engaged in massive and violent resistance to the Civil Rights Movement, “cleansed” that provision in 1968. Handed an opportunity to right a 130-year-old wrong, the majority instead upholds it. I respectfully dissent.

The majority opinion unsurprisingly relies upon the “animus cleansing” that Justice Alito put forward in his Abbott v. Perez majority opinion (and about which I explain in The Supreme Court’s Pro-Partisanship Turn, 109 Georgetown Law Journal Online 50 (2020)).

Share this: