President Joe Biden expressed his “deep disappointment” with the Supreme Court’s major voting rights case decision Thursday, in which the six conservative justices further weakened the Voting Rights Act.
All three liberal justices dissented, led by Justice Elena Kagan who wrote a lengthy lamentation about the majority’s decision and Court’s history of helping keep minority voters from the ballot box.
“In a span of just eight years, the Court has now done severe damage to two of the most important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a law that took years of struggle and strife to secure,” Biden wrote in a statement.
He reemphasized the need to pass federal voting safeguards: namely, the sweeping democracy reform package called the For The People Act and legislation meant to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full power, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The For the People Act was most recently filibustered by Republicans in the Senate, and the John Lewis Act likely faces the same fate once it’s completed later this year.
The House Judiciary Committee leaders shepherding through the John Lewis Act said in a statement after the Court’s decision that the committee will “expeditiously complete its work on an updated John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and move to bring legislation to the House floor as quickly as possible.”
Anti-filibuster activists have rallied behind the legislation to make their case, arguing that the two bills are all the more urgent as GOP-led state legislatures push a raft of restrictive voting laws in the wake of the 2020 election. The power to eliminate the Senate rule lays with the only current Democratic holdouts, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who have both recently reaffirmed their loyalty to the measure, which acts as a virtual minority veto.
“The Court’s decision, harmful as it is, does not limit Congress’ ability to repair the damage done today,” Biden writes. “That means forging a coalition of Americans of every background and political party — from advocates, activists, and business executives — to raise the urgency of the moment and demand that our democracy truly reflects the will of the people and that it delivers for the Nation.”