“How a Supreme Court justice’s paragraph put the Voting Rights Act in more danger”

Hansi Lo Wang for NPR:

The roots of the next potential U.S. Supreme Court showdown that could further weaken the Voting Rights Act’s protections against racial discrimination can be traced to a handful of sentences by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

In the summer of 2021, Gorsuch — the first Supreme Court appointee by former President Donald Trump — tacked a single-paragraph concurring opinion onto a major court ruling to “flag one thing.”

The ruling was for a lawsuit about Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

And the “thing” Gorsuch wanted to flag was a question he said no one in the case had raised before the court: Who has the right to sue to try to enforce that key section of the landmark law?

For decades, private individuals and groups, who did not represent the federal government, have filed the majority of Section 2 lawsuits that have stopped state and local governments from minimizing the political power of people of color through the redrawing of voting maps and other steps in the elections process.

But that longstanding practice may be coming to an end.

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