It Looks Like Pre-Clearance Is Doomed

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The 1965 Voting Rights Act requires certain states with histories of racial discrimination to pre-clear any election changes with the Department of Justice. Conservatives have been arguing for years that this provision of the VRA is antiquated and should be struck down. The Supreme Court heard yet another argument on this subject today, and this time it looks like opponents are finally going to win. Here’s election law expert Rick Hasen:

A few years ago, I would have had a smidgen of sympathy for the opponents of pre-clearance. Maybe half a century is long enough. But given the rash of racially charged voter suppression efforts of the past three years—photo ID laws, early voting shenanigans, voter purges, etc.—this sure seems like a wildly inopportune time to pretend that we’ve overcome the demons of our past. Personally, I think I’d vote to expand pre-clearance at this point. Republicans like to claim that the VRA is unfair because it’s not just the South that does this stuff, and their point is well taken. The solution just happens to be the opposite of the one they’ve proposed.

More here from Adam Serwer on Chief Justice John Roberts and his long war against the VRA.

UPDATE: Hasen’s site is back up, and his full post is here.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest