October 4, 2022

Dahlia Lithwick pointed out to Rachel Maddow last night how important it is to pay attention to all the moving parts of democracy.

"This is sort of the time if you are concerned about democracy, if you are concerned about what's happening in your state, now, today's the day, where we are far enough in the election, where you still have time to ask yourself -- what am I gonna say I did? What was my role in helping? How did I participate in trying to hold up this thing that I say I value," Maddow said.

"One of the things that I'm scared about, is that one of the things we tell each other, about how to make change is to vote, I'm very worried about the Voting Rights Act, and what they will be hearing tomorrow. What are your expectations in terms of the dilution of voting rights for minorities, and threats to the court this year?"

"I mean, it's existential, and I think what you said initially is exactly correct, which is this is not the beginning of a process, this is a process that began with Shelby County. It began with Citizens United. It began with Brnovich, two years ago, when SectionTwo of the Voting Rights Act was circumscribed. So this is really what's left of the Voting Rights Act, that has been it is eviscerated by this court," Lithwick said.

"I think if they do what I suspect they're gonna do tomorrow, and we hear about it in the spring, it's gonna be almost impossible to effectuate the rights that were protected, as you said, under Section Two of the Voting Rights Act, which was the crown jewel of how we were going to get to fair voting. And so I think that, if you put that in tandem with the Moore case that you are talking about, the independent state legislature case, what you are really looking at is an attempt to do, in black robes, what Donald Trump and John Eastman tried to do in the 2020 election, which is say we are going to give state legislatures almost unfettered power to do what they will with elections, to do what they will with gerrymandering, to do what they will with vote suppression, up to and including election denialism, that is the Harper case.

"And I think once you are there, and it's unreviewable, if it turns out that isn't reviewable by state courts, under state constitutions, you are essentially green-lighting the thing that didn't happen in 2020, just because it was too soon."

"If the court, in terms of court legitimacy, which is a term that I think it's thrown around a lot without people understanding what it means. If court legitimacy continues to be in flux, the way it is now, it feels like it's in free fall now, more than in flux. Do you think the justices themselves - and I'm starting to worry about people following their orders, and people following the rulings, are they conscious of that threat?" Maddow asked.

"A year ago, I would've said yes. SV8, the shadow docket, all the ethics stuff that we saw around Clarence Thomas's wife being involved at least tangentially in January 6th, and him failing to recuse himself for a case squarely about January 6th. And any point in that process, up to and including the Dobbs leak, I would've said this is a court that is in trouble, the wheels are coming off, they understand there is no Plan B for the rule of law, once it's gone it's gone for decades.

"I no longer have any confidence that that's bothering them, and I'd go so far as to say, I think when Justice Alito and chief Justice Roberts are scolding us for having conversations about legitimacy, rather than asking themselves what they could have done differently, I think it's just evidence to me, A of gaslighting, but B, that they just don't care."

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