In a development that surely has former President Donald Trump grinning from ear to ear, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case pertaining to the state of Arizona’s election laws.
According to the Washington Examiner, the SCOTUS is set to hear oral arguments on a case covering election procedures in Arizona as soon as March. While the suit reportedly does not stem from disputes surrounding the 2020 elections, it could have a significant impact on how ballots are cast in the Grand Canyon State and across the nation in future match-ups.
Voter registration and ballot harvesting
The case coming before the court next month originated during the 2016 election season, the Examiner reported, and has to do with claims from Democrats that Republican-backed election policies in Arizona are discriminatory.
In its suit, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reportedly took particular issue with the “out of precinct” or “OOP” policy, which requires election officials to toss out ballots cast by those who vote in-person at a precinct other than where they are registered to vote.
According to the Examiner, Democrats also want to throw out a state law that prohibits the collection of absentee or mail-in ballots by a third party, a controversial practice known as “ballot harvesting.”
A case of discrimination?
The DNC has argued that both policies disproportionately impact members of minority communities and alleged that the practices violate Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), along with the Fifteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Going even further, the DNC maintains that Republicans were not only fully aware that these practices would be discriminatory when they enacted them, but that the alleged discrimination was a specific and deliberate intent of the policies.
The Examiner reported that an Arizona district court had originally sided with the state and upheld both the OOP policy and the ban on ballot harvesting, only for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse that ruling.
Now, the case is headed all the way up to the Supreme Court, where a ruling in favor of the DNC could result in major changes being made to election laws nationwide — changes that Republicans fear could open the door to ballot fraud.
The GOP fights back
With weeks to go until the SCOTUS hears the case, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and state Republicans have countered the DNC by asserting that race has nothing to do with either policy, both of which Brnovich called “commonsense election provisions” aimed at protecting the integrity of Arizona’s elections, the Examiner notes.
Furthermore, the AG and fellow Republicans argue that all voters — minority voters included — have multiple opportunities to cast a ballot legally. In support of the defense is an amicus brief written by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was joined by 10 other Republican senators in arguing that the 9th Circuit’s ruling was not only wrong, but also threatened to undermine election laws across America.
Then-President Donald Trump’s administration also filed a brief in support of the Arizona GOP’s position. The Biden Justice Department has since walked it back, however, claiming the previous filing no longer represents the “current view” of the U.S. government.