I'm not about to try to summarize Shipwreckedcrew's full article about the AZ election law case that will be argued at the SCOTUS today--Brnovich v. DNC. Very briefly, because election law is very technical and this case depends on constitutional interpretation of state and federal law, at issue are AZ election laws that are race neutral on their face but which the DNC claims have a disproportionate impact on minorities. The case goes all the way back to 2016 and came up through the District Court, a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit, and then an en banc rehearing in the 9th Circuit. SWC engages in some speculation, as you can see from the title:
Is Brnovich v. DNC -- Set for Argument Today -- the Reason the Supreme Court Refused to Take up Election Cases?
SWC doesn't exactly spell this out, but here's my read on what he's at least hinting at. SWC is arguing--and this part is explicit--that CJ Roberts has a long term strategy for getting the federal courts out of the election law business and returning these matters to where they belong: state legislatures. SWC goes back through a bit of the history of the Roberts court on election law. The bottom line appears to be that, as long as the laws in question are not discriminatory on their face it's time for the federal courts to more or less butt out.
In fairness to SWC, his argument is detailed and he explicitly states that he's talking about "voting rights cases." The result SWC sees from the earlier case law--and, I presume, hopes to see continuing--is this:
No longer burdened with the “preclearance” requirement, states could pass voting-related legislation on subjects like voter ID, purging voter rolls, redistricting, ballot harvesting, etc.
Where the Arizona case comes in is that DNC lawyers--does the name Marc Elias mean anything to you?--despite the earlier SCOTUS case law of the Roberts court, are still attempting to conduct a lawfare campaign against state tightening of their election security through other sections of the Voting Rights Act than were interpreted in the earlier cases. That's what happened in the en banc rehearing in the 9th Circuit, in which the Dem judge overruled the District Court and their own three judge appellate panel. Obviously, SWC hopes to see the SCOTUS reverse the 9th Circuit, and believes that Roberts' long term strategy will have its effect.
I'll say this. SWC may be right that Roberts persuaded Justices Amy and Brett to go along with him in refusing to take the 2020 election cases, on the promise that they'd be addressing these matters in fairly short order through the AZ case. The benefit of the ruling that SWC is hoping for--as I read him--is that it would strongly encourage states to get their election law houses in order. That would be good, and it would be a proper federalist solution. It would also keep the SCOTUS from being involved in controversies over specific elections--which is also an understandable institutional goal for the SCOTUS.
However, there's a fly in the ointment of this thinking. My view is that, while a long term judicial strategy for handling election rights cases is good, the 2020 cases largely--exclusively?--turned on issues of federal constitutional law rather than state statutory law in conflict with the federal constitution. If I'm not being entirely clear, let me put it this way. The federal constitution states that state legislatures will decide the manner in which elections are to be held. In the 2020 election the real issue was not so much with the irregular methods employed in the states, in violation of state laws. The real issue was that those irregular--illegal--methods were empowered by the executive and judicial branches of those state governments. That means there was a clear violation of the federal constitution. That's a very different matter than voting rights cases based on federal statutory law, so I believe the TX case should have been taken, no matter the Lib generated "controversy." Some controversial cases demand a hearing.
We'll have to wait and see if we get the clarification and strengthening of state powers that SWC is hoping for. Oral arguments are today, but the decision won't be announced for a while. On the plus side, the ruling will come in time for states to take action before 2022. On the less plus side, I'm not so sanguine that the shenanigans we saw in 2020 will not occur again--SCOTUS rulings be damned. In that case, Roberts will have to bite the bullet and get involved in the election process, or let any semblance of electoral integrity go down the drain. Admittedly, it's not a pretty picture to see courts constantly having to step into individual election cases, but that seems to be where we are with the Prog approach to overruling the electorate through illegal means. Not a pleasant prospect.