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Did Bad Lawyering Save the Voting Rights Act?

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March 3, 2021

The Supreme Court seemed skeptical of arguments defending voting restrictions by lawyers for the Arizona Republican Party on March 2nd.  Attorney Michael Carvin argued that states have broad power to enact laws restricting the “time, place, or manner” where voters cast their ballots, but back-pedaled when Justice Kagan questioned him about hypothetical requirements that everyone has to vote between 10 am and 2 pm on a particular day, or at country clubs. Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Thomas, Alito, Kavanaugh, and Barrett all voiced concerns as well. After Carvin conceded that a state could not require every ballot to be cast at a country club, Barrett told him that his argument “has some contradictions in it.” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich suggested that states that want to disenfranchise minority voters can use existing demographic disparities to target them as long as the state does not create those disparities. A slim majority of Justices seemed unsympathetic to that argument as well.

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