Biden Justice Department Switches Sides In ACA Case | How To Save The Voting Rights Act
February 11, 2021
The Biden administration has officially informed the Supreme Court that the federal government is switching sides in a pending challenge to the Affordable Care Act. In a letter sent to justices Wednesday, a Justice Department official urged the court to uphold the law. It’s unlikely that the shift will impact the outcome of the case that was already heard by justices just after Election Day.
HOW TO SAVE A DEMOCRACY|
Vann R. Newkirk II writes in The Atlantic that the Voting Rights Act is hanging on by a thread. He suggests ways to restore the elements of the VRA that were curtailed by the Supreme Court and points to both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act. “If both pieces of legislation were passed, they would represent the most significant expansion of federal voting-rights protections in at least a generation. But in a political climate where meaningful legislative action is almost impossible and party fortunes rise and fall every two years, getting the two bills through Congress may be a stretch goal. Meanwhile, the courts will remain a threat. The American right still has plenty of energy for abolishing preclearance and curbing proactive federal oversight. The VRA’s premise and constitutionality are still debated in conservative circles. And the Supreme Court and other federal courts now have a decidedly rightward bent. Black Americans deserve better. Their struggle over the centuries helped create essentially all of the measures that we now associate with suffrage—the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments; the Twenty-Fourth Amendment; the Voting Rights Act; the ‘one person, one vote’ principle; and the Nineteenth Amendment, which Black women fought to secure. Black Americans should be counted above the Athenians as progenitors of democracy.”
THE ROADS THAT LEAD TO REFORM|
Elizabeth Wydra argues in The Hill that PRESIDENT BIDEN’S new commission on court reform “has the potential to restore legitimacy to an institution whose abuse by Republican politicians in the Trump years caused a serious undermining of public confidence in the Court.” But she makes clear that there are many ways to reform the court system that are often overlooked or overshadowed by debates over court-packing. From Supreme Court justices operating without a code of ethical conduct to their growing reliance on doing business through their “shadow docket” — there’s a lot that needs a closer look.
THE CAT'S MEOW|
The legal world has been taken by storm this week — not just over constitutional questions of holding an impeachment trial for an ex-president, but also because video circulated of a Texas lawyer unable to turn off a filter that transformed him into a cat during a Zoom hearing. As ROD PONTON struggled to remove the filter, he mercifully clarified for the world that he is indeed not a cat. Ponton went on The Today Show to discuss his experience of becoming an internet sensation and he said he was glad to be able to bring some joy to the world. Yesterday’s SCOTUSDaily email incorrectly referred to Mr. Ponton as being named Ron. H/T to SCOTUSDaily reader Murry B. Cohen for the catch and for giving us another reason to share the now-beloved video of “Hot Rod” Ponton: NBC.