On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion, Husted, Ohio Secretary Of State v. A. Philip Randolph Institute et al, by 5-4 upholding Ohio’s laws that permit the state to purge its voter rolls of voters who do not vote for two years, and do not respond to a purported notice sent to the individual informing the voter of the purge. The plaintiff in this suit claimed he had never received any notice.
Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority and was very dismissive of both dissents in the case. Some fear that the decision today will result in other states following Ohio’s lead and further suppressing the vote. What perhaps is the most shocking about the decision is the way in which the “President” of the United States, Donald J. Trump, reacted on his @realdonaldtrump Twitter feed: “Just won big Supreme Court decision on Voting! Great News!”
Trump is taking a victory lap for a case that affirmed the ability of voters to be suppressed, which is amazing in and of itself. It is also incredibly “ego tripping” to act as if he had a direct influence in the decision. The Department of Justice did abandon internal integrity to support Ohio’s position. This case had started during the Obama administration, claiming that Ohio had violated the National Voter Registration Act by its voter roll purges. In an about face, the Department of Justice changed positions in this very case, something that previously had been rare.
This change in positions is probably more political than the other changes of positions the current administration’s DOJ have taken, because the shift is designed to assist Republicans and suppress the votes of traditional Democratic strongholds. Donald Trump has again shown his true colors and what he is about – winning or advancing by cheating the system.
Daniel Cotter is a lawyer writing and teaching about SCOTUS, and married father of two boys living in Chicago, Illinois.