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US Supreme Court temporarily blocks controversial Georgia election law

US Supreme Court temporarily blocks controversial Georgia election law
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US Supreme Court temporarily blocks controversial Georgia election law

On Friday, August 19, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision in a pending case involving Georgia election law, delaying an election in the Peach State. The Court, according to New York Times reporter Adam Liptak, revives “a federal judge’s ruling that the state had adopted voting rules that disadvantaged Black voters in violation of a federal civil rights law.”

“In an unsigned order without noted dissents,” Liptak reports, “the justices wrote that an appeals court’s reason for staying the judge’s ruling — that it had come too close to the election in November — was flawed because state officials had told the judge that there was enough time to make the required adjustments. The Supreme Court vacated the stay and returned the case to the appeals court for reconsideration.”

The High Court’s order, Liptak notes, “was an exception to what legal experts say is a growing trend: a near-categorical ban on late changes to state election procedures even when those changes have been ruled necessary to address illegal infringements of the right to vote.”

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“The case concerned elections for the Georgia Public Service Commission, which sets utility rates and has five members,” Liptak reports. “A 1998 law divided the state into five districts, with one commissioner representing each. But the commissioners continued to be elected in statewide elections. About a third of Georgians are Black, but Black voters are in a majority in District 3, which is made up of counties in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Four Black voters from that district sued to challenge statewide elections for commissioners, saying the practice violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting their power to elect candidates of their choice.”

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