McCrory v. Harris Case Brief

Posted: November 1, 2016 by beguide in case summaries, Election, Equal Protection, Fantasy Supreme Court League, Governmental Agencies, Uncategorized


For every case covered in the podcast and the Fantasy League, we will provide a brief summary of everything you need to know and worry about for each case.

WHAT HAPPENED:  In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required States and Counties with a history of discrimination to seek approval for all new statutes on voting to prevent instances of latent and overt racism. Subsequent to that decision, North Carolina jumped at the opportunity to incorporate latent racism into its Voting procedures by passing the Omnibus election law which included banned voting procedures like early voting, early registration and instituted a voter ID law.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: This case was brought before the Supreme Court under the remaining provisions of the VRA which bars States from passing discriminatory voting laws. The lower court found emphatically against the law, holding that the North Carolina provisions were passed to curtail African American Democratic votes.  This ruling was supported by considerable evidence in North Carolina, and is also generally considered true all around the country, because provisions like these routinely prejudice non-white voters.  The Supreme Courts job is now to determine whether or not that’s actually true both specifically (did the lower court have the authority to make that ruling) and generally (could any Court make that ruling).

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS CASE:  This case is checking the pulse of the Voting Rights Act. If North Carolina (McCrory) wins, the States can do whatever they want with voting as long as they can defend their laws with a straight face. If the Harris wins, the VRA will do that thing that happens at the end of horror movies where the camera focuses in on a grave stone and then a hand pops out.  This case may also determine whether or not the provisions in the Omnibis Act, which are facially neutral, can be declared unilaterally discriminatory in all jurisdictions around the Country.

ROOT FOR MCCRORY if you view politics like a pro wrestling referee, where you can only get disqualified if you are caught red-handed with a steel chair.

ROOT FOR HARRIS if you view politics like a basketball referee, where being obtuse and substituting your judgment for someone else is the only way to keep things fair.

PREDICTION- 5-3 in support of HARRIS, with the decision on individual elements spread out among a collection of concurrence and dissents.

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