I have written this piece for Slate. It begins:
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement from the Supreme Court last week, was certainly the “swing justice” in key cases on major issues from abortion to gay rights. But when it came to election law, Justice Kennedy didn’t swing: He consistently sided with conservatives and the Republican Party on the most important cases of the day. Still, I fully expect issues from voting rights to campaign finance to get far worse when President Trump appoints Kennedy’s successor in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Kennedy was the author or in the majority in three of the worst election law cases the court decided in the last two generations: Bush v. Gore (2000), Citizens United v. FEC (2010), and Shelby County v. Holder (2013). It’s worth looking back at Kennedy’s bad voting rights decisions—and how much worse they could have been—when thinking about his replacement….
In sum, Anthony Kennedy was not a friend of strong voting rights, but he was not a harsh conservative in the mold of Antonin Scalia. As I explained in my recent book on Scalia’s legacy, The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption, a court filled with Scalia acolytes—such as President Trump has promised the nation—is going to be a disaster for the cause of voting and democracy.