Justice Sotomayor Opens Up Can Of Whoop Butt On Conservatives


The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, written in 1964, says that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.” Apparently, poll taxes can be implemented in other ways.

On Thursday, the conservative justices of the Supreme Court implemented what amounts to a poll tax, requiring felons to pay off court fines, probation fees, and restitution in order to vote now that felons’ voting rights have been restored in Florida.

The dissenting opinion came from the three more liberal SCOTUS justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The Washington Post reports that:

‘In early July, the Campaign Legal Center in Washington petitioned the high court to lift the stay, arguing that the appeals court decision had “thrown the election rules into chaos.”

‘But on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied that request. Three liberal justices noted their dissent, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing that the court’s decision “prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor.”’

In many states, the right to vote has been restored to felons, some of whom must complete probation or parole before having their rights reinstated, but none of which require that anyone pay money to ensure their right to vote. With Florida in constant election season limbo as a perpetual purple state, ensuring that black voters’ rights are suppressed helps conservatives. After all, 20 percent of black voters in 2018 were ineligible to vote because of prior felonies, and the black vote in Florida always leans to the left.

According to USA Today:

‘The dispute over the voting rights of Florida’s felons could be crucial in this fall’s elections because of its perennial status as a swing state. There are about 775,000 felons in the state who have completed their prison sentences, including about 85,000 who registered to vote.

‘Most states restore felons’ right to vote after their sentences, along with time on parole or probation, are complete. Many states impose additional requirements. Florida is among 11 states with the most restrictive rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.’

The bill reinstating the rights of felons to vote in Florida had widespread support across the state, but Republicans have been on a mission following the election of President Obama to suppress the vote as much as possible. Whether it’s closing down polling places or suddenly requiring a state ID to vote, what these restrictions amount to is fewer black Americans with the ability to vote.

‘Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 allowing felons to vote after their sentences are complete. The initiative won 64% approval.

‘The state Legislature passed, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed, a law requiring that felons first pay all fees, fines and restitution owed as part of the process.

‘That restriction was challenged by voting rights groups, and in May, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle struck it down as a “pay-to-vote system.” This month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit blocked Hinkle’s ruling and scheduled a hearing for Aug. 18 – the date of the state primary. The registration deadline to vote is next Monday.’

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