This opinion has me wondering where the Trump judges are getting their law clerks. While the dynamic between a judge and his/her clerks runs the gamut in terms of how much latitude / responsibility is delegated to the clerks in writing opinions, I would be curious if Leonard Leo / ADF - having filled the federal courts with ideologues - has similarly populated their chambers with even more ideological clerks who are serving as a transmission belt for an ALEC-style nationwide effort to radicalize the law.

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I think it’s nearly beyond doubt. Other than those that may be personal favors, clerks are products of the same vetting process that put the judges there (without the degradation of having to respond to senators’ questions).

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The Supreme Court is led by someone who doesn't like the Voting Rights Act & opposed expanding its reach in the 1980s.

The bottom line, as shown by Shelby County v. Holder, is that Congress needs to pass significant a voting rights law. You used to be able to find Republicans who went along. Last time one Republican supported one of the two major proposals.

The filibuster stopped that and Manchin and Sinema refused to break it. We will continue to have cases like this for the immediate future. It might be pushing the law from where it was but that is basically (unless they go REALLY far) is what the current Supreme Court majority wants.

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Trump judges are just doing what they’re supposed to be doing: ending voting rights for minorities who lean Democratic.

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OK. Generally one thinks of a statewide election as being "fairer" because it trumps gerrymandering, but I can see that here the office being voted upon is not statewide, but regional. I gather the PSC in each of 5 regions regulates its district's public access to electricity, natural gas, and telecommunications insuring that the services be safe, reliable, and reasonably priced. Thus presumably a minority heavy district can be "ruled" by a party a majority of the voters in the district wouldn't elect themselves--i.e. undoubtedly, a Republican.

Help us understand why the voter dilution here "matters." Has there been an actual discriminatory effect on the regulation of electricity, et al. What difference would it make to the residents of a minority district if they could locally elect a Democrat? What policies might differ? Could District A go all free-market in its approach to making the utilities safe, reliable and reasonably priced while District B (the "Dem controlled one) could impose local government regulations to the dismay of the actual utilities but perhaps the benefit of the residents? Is there any statewide imposition of free-market vs regulated approach that would override a "rogue" district? How are the districts divided vis a vis the overall electrical grid or provision of gas or phone/cable services?

I'm not trying to argue that voter dilution should be ignored nor that the judge's apparently tortured reasoning was in fact actually reasonable. I'm just trying to understand why THIS particular battle was chosen by proponents of the VRA when there are such dangers to the VRA as a whole obviously in the offing.

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There is a link to the district court’s ruling, which lays it out in great detail. The bottom line is that distinct needs and concerns of the minority community (here, Black Georgians) exist and can be more easily ignored under a statewide election system.

Here, as I noted repeatedly, the appeals court never addressed those issues or even vote dilution at all. And with the front-loaded remedy discussion, they have made it less likely that lower courts will be able to do so in the future.

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Here’s a very recent example of what this board feels entitled to do under our current elections system in GA: https://www.ajc.com/news/psc-raises-georgia-power-rates-passing-most-plant-vogtle-expansion-costs-on-to-customers/6BAIOWM7J5BVHFZ2UN27KYXENA/

The at-large system means we’re stuck indefinitely with 5 Republican board members who feel NO accountability to the people of Georgia. We all suffer, but those who are already disadvantaged suffer more. (Another example: At the height of the pandemic, in June 2020(!) while unemployment rates were skyrocketing, the PSC voted to lift the moratorium on utility shut-offs. And another example: they ok’d another rate hike just this spring, despite public outcry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agzzKnMorcE)

It would help to have even one PSC member who would work for the people instead of the utilities. It might make the other members worry just a little bit about accountability, and hesitate just a little bit before they green-light the next rate hike.

It’s definitely an important battle, with very real consequences for people’s lives. So grateful to Chris for reporting on this.

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