“How to reverse a supreme court attack on democracy: fight for voting rights; John Roberts’ wrecking ball got you mad as hell? Don’t take his court’s electoral destruction for granted anymore”

I have written this piece for The Guardian.  It begins:

Many Americans, especially on the left, are up in arms about the US supreme court’s decision last week in McCutcheon v FEC, which further deregulates campaign financing. Now the super-wealthy need not go through an independent Super Pac; they can get more money directly into the hands of politicians.

The worst thing about the decision is that there’s not much you can do about it, other than fight to uphold what remains of the rules. The only ways to restore the pre-Roberts court campaign finance rules would be for Congress and the states to amend the Constitution (something that’s all but impossible in today’s partisan environment), or for the supreme court to change its interpretation of the First Amendment (something that would take the retirement of Justice Scalia or Kennedy and their replacement by a Democratic president, which is not impossible but not something to bank on).

A lot more can be done to roll back some of the Roberts court’s other unfortunate decisions involving our electoral process. Somehow, the political will just doesn’t seem to be there. Many white Americans are exercised about campaign finance but little else. But the American public – all of it – should be just as exercised by the assault on voting rights as it is by the court’s new views on money in politics.

It concludes:

Last week, the day before the court issued its verdict on McCutcheon, I posted an item on my Election Law Blog about Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach pushing for new literacy tests for voting. The date of the blog post was April 1, and the link to the story went to Google’s gag for April Fools’ Day. Many readers – including some quite sophisticated lawyers and journalists – took the bait. It isn’t funny, but the best April Fools’ jokes are the ones that come closest to the truth. Americans, in the John Roberts era, somehow just expect that it’s going to get harder and harder to vote in this country – and that there’s nothing we can do about it.

It’s about time for Congress to pass some new laws protecting voting rights, and it’s high time – right now – for us to dare the supreme court to strike even more of them down.

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