Conservatives have taken aim at state and federal laws on the books in recent years in an effort to limit the number of everyday Americans who can exercise their right to vote. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court finally struck back, halting an effort that attempted to limit representation of minority urban dwellers.
The high court ruled that states must draw their legislative districts based on the amount of people living in them and not the amount of voters as the plaintiffs in Evenwel v. Abbott had sought. That would have overturned the principle of “one person one vote” that is steeped within the American political system.
“Adopting voter-eligible apportionment as constitutional command would upset a well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 states and countless local jurisdictions have long followed,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote for the majority. “As the Framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible to vote.”
The victory is a step toward ensuring fairness at the ballot box. But it is also a reminder of how far some are willing to go to rig the system in an effort to ensure an outcome that benefits them. After all, this case comes after several states implemented voter suppression schemes that hindered the ability of young adults, seniors, low-income people and minorities to vote.
Think of it – those who have been pushing this agenda believed that curtailing the ability of the nation’s most vulnerable to vote wasn’t enough. Instead, they decided they needed to tinker with the way legislative districts are drawn so they only count registered voters to maximize their anti-worker world view.
The U.S. should not be a country that only values the powerful. Truthfully, there are times when that seems to be the case. Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s decision in Evenwel will help restore the faith of many in this democracy.