I Dissent

…from the dissenter.

The Supreme Court ruled that Arizona’s voter law is entirely legitimate. That law, you’ll remember, among other things limited who is allowed to return early voting ballots for another person—banned ballot harvesting—and barred counting ballots cast in the wrong precinct.

Among the reasons for upholding Arizona’s law is this:

The court rejected the idea that showing that a state law disproportionately affects minority voters is enough to prove a violation of the law.

Writing in dissent (it was a 6-3 majority), Justice Elena Kagan claimed in part

What is tragic is that the Court has damaged a statute [the 56-yr-old Voting Rights Act] designed to bring about “the end of discrimination in voting.” I respectfully dissent[.]

The irony in Kagan’s dissent is breathtaking in its depth. She complains of damaging the “end of discrimination in voting” even as the Arizona law treats all voters equally rather than giving special treatment to some. Reducing special treatment somehow increases discrimination.

The rejection of the concept that disproportionality is by itself, regardless of whether it’s a mere side effect, discriminatory also represents a great reduction in special treatment for particular groups—but this, too, is somehow an increase in discrimination in Kagan’s world view.

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