Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Georgia Voter Suppression
I ask that each of you hold fast to your faith in the principles
upon which this nation was founded.
Ann: Hello, Justice Ginsburg, do you think the Supreme Court will uphold the restrictive voting law signed into law in Georgia and pending in many other states?
Justice Ginsburg: Ann, this is one of those issues that may have to get worse before it gets better. When the outrage and outcry reaches such a level that no voting restrictions can hold against it, this transgression and those like it in other states will be reined in.
I gather that you want me more specifically to predict how my former colleagues will handle the situation. I would hope that Justice Roberts will have seen the error of his ways when he allowed the Court to strike down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 His rational for that decision was that the safeguards that it provided were no longer necessary.
Certainly there is an increasingly compelling case to be made as to why that decision was in error, and current events are bearing out the fears of those who warned that the relaxation of federal safeguards would lead to the imposition of voting restrictions such that free and fair elections would be come at best an uphill battle and at worst an impossibility.
He is the key. I believe he can sway some of the newer justices, but others are entrenched in their views and social positions, believing that you either make it upon the terms of the present society or you don’t make it. A helping hand offered by the federal government is just not in their vocabulary.
I believe, however, that the Court will be undergoing a reconfiguration as the workings behind some current players are revealed. This may not swing the Court far enough to sway decisions that many conservatives believe should be left to the states, but even a slight shift will cast light on some of the darker forces at work in our democracy.
It will take time. What I came to say initially was that there may be – and there may need to be – a sharper swing towards the right before the horrors thus exposed are corrected. I am reminded of the Los Angeles riots where the scale of violence was such that a reconsideration of civil rights was inevitable. In short, the Capital insurrection may have been a catalyst to such a course correction but perhaps not enough to open the eyes of those who are willfully blind.
I ask that each of you hold fast to your faith in the principles upon which this nation was founded. Principles which in the past were so rent asunder that a segment of the population went to war to defend its subjugation of another race. Even this did not destroy our nation.
The current trends, though disturbing, will serve to highlight the peril in which we have all been placed, and attempts to diminish or even destroy the right to free and fair elections will not stand.
Whatever you do, do not let your vision waver. The justice system is still intact.
Ann: So will the Supreme Court let Georgia’s law stand?
Justice Ginsburg: Some of it, yes, but the line will be drawn at the transfer of voting power from the electorate to politically elected representatives, and if this line can be held, we will find ourselves moving forward on solid ground.
Ann: Will you tell me which justices will go which way?
Justice Ginsburg: Ann, my loyalty is not to any one justice but to the institution which requires that collegial, open, and frank discussions among the justices be conducted without fear of being politicized by various factions which would use a comment here or an idea there to be thrown out as a club to beat someone else’s viewpoint into the ground.
Suffice it to say that, in the long run, if we do not waver in our commitment to the rule of law, I think you may be pleasantly surprised.
March 29, 2021