The Supreme Court seems to be leaning in favor of upholding Arizona election integrity laws that were struck down by a lower court for alleged racial discrimination, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The Post’s U.S. Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes made the assessment after gaging a two-hour teleconference hearing on two vital voting cases: Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee and Arizona Republican Party v. Democratic National Committee.
“It would not be a surprise to see the high court disagree with a lower-court ruling and leave the restrictions in place,” Barnes said.
Chief Justice John Roberts as well as Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett “asked tough questions of both sides,” the report said, adding, “In general, the conservative justices seemed inclined to support Arizona’s laws, while the court’s three liberal justices indicated that courts should conduct a more searching investigation into the way seemingly neutral laws work against minority voters.”
The voting regulations from Arizona, which are more broadly applied in other parts of the country, pertain to ballot harvesting and the collection of ballots at the wrong precincts. One law restricts who is allowed to collect ballots cast early for delivery to polling places, and the other would toss ballots submitted to the incorrect precincts.
Republicans argue that the laws in question uphold the integrity of elections and work to minimize fraud. Democrats claim the laws are discriminatory to minorities, though even the Biden administration has acknowledged that the two laws do not violate a key component of the Voting Rights Act.
In what the Post has qualified as an “unusual letter,” the Biden administration said on Feb. 16 that the U.S. Department of Justice “does not disagree with the conclusion in that brief that neither Arizona measure violates Section 2’s results test.”
Citing the letter, Vox noted Tuesday that “there are reasonable arguments that the Court should allow the two state laws to stand.” The real concern for Democrats, the outlet stated, is the potential for the Supreme Court to “[water] down what remains of the Voting Rights Act to such an extent that it becomes virtually worthless.”
Election integrity in Arizona has become a focal point in the national press. On Friday, for example, a judge ruled that Arizona Senate Republicans can have access to Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots from the 2020 general election and corresponding voting equipment to perform an audit.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason said that the election-related subpoenas issued by the Arizona Senate are valid and enforceable.
Senate Republicans and the GOP-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors disagreed about the accessibility of the ballots. The Senate wanted to perform an audit to address election integrity concerns from constituents, whereas the board argued the ballots, by law, were to be kept secret for 24 months following the election. The judge scolded the parties for failing to come to an agreement on their own but sided with the Senate, suggesting the law in question does not conflict with the subpoenas.
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