Maureen Edobor is a new election-law academic recently hired as an assistant professor at Washington and Lee. Here’s an excerpt from a piece she just published in The Hill, which criticizes the 8th Circuit’s holding that no private right of action exists to enforce Sec. 2 of the VRA:
Yet, the 8th Circuit seeks to foreclose judicial opportunities to vindicate the Fifteenth Amendment, and by extension, Section 2’s right to vote free from racial discrimination while both political parties (yes, even Republicans) are embracing expanded voter access amid nascent statistical evidence that suppressive laws have negligible partisan effects on elections. Interpreting the Republican Party’s bait-and-switch on mail-in voting and expanded early voting most generously and considering the slim Republican majority in the House, one could imagine the slightest possibility for bipartisan clarification on Section 2’s private right of action to undo the gratuitous Gordian knot tied by the 8th Circuit, and possibly moot the litigation. Certainly, Congress needs to act, while it still can send a clear rebuke of the Supreme Court’s decision, drawing upon its legacy when it did the same in 1982, after the Supreme Court intentionally misstated Section 2’s standard of proof in Mobile v. Bolden. This is the least Congress can do, and not beyond the realm of reality as last Congress, a bipartisan and narrow revision to the Electoral Count Act was made to clarify the vice president’s role in the counting of electoral votes after the atrocities of Jan. 6.