The Supreme Court sided with Georgia voters on Friday, reinstating a federal judge’s decision that court documents found the current system discriminates against black voters, in violation of a federal civil rights statute.
Why it matters: According to court documents, this year’s election to the State Civil Service Commission had to be postponed to allow for a new system for electing commissioners.
The big picture: The ruling was a rare example of the conservative Supreme Court siding with voters over state officials, writes CNN.
- Typically, courts refuse to make late changes to state election procedures, even when those changes are necessary to address “illegal violations of voting rights,” writes the New York Times.
But, but, but: But the exemption was based on an unusual concession by state officials and may not have a major impact, the Times added.
- Attorneys for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had vowed not to address the Purcell principle, which deters lawsuits in federal courts that would disrupt election planning just before an election if they lost.
details: The Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities in the state, has five commission seats and each commissioner must reside in a specific district.
- Black voters are the majority in a district, and voters from that area complained, saying that electing commissioners in statewide elections violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting their power to elect candidates of their choosing.
- “If everyone in the United States could vote on who the Georgia US Senators would be, I don’t think anyone would think the system was fair to Georgians,” Justice Robin Rosenbaum wrote, contradicting a previous one Verdict.