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While Republicans are proposing bills to suppress voters in state legislatures across the United States, federal Democrats are pushing for the For the People Act – a comprehensive bill on voting rights that was passed in the US House of Representatives but is now rising sharply against the US -Senate. Democrats have a slim majority and have to grapple with most laws with the filibuster. Far-right pundits have railed against the law known as HR1 in conservative media outlets like Fox News, Fox Business and Newsmax, and observers warn Republicans that Republicans will go to extreme lengths to combat such reforms.

Some of these tactics were analyzed by Brian Beutler of Crooked Media and on the Democracy Docket website.

Beutler looks at different scenarios and how they could affect voting rights if they occur. Some scenarios to consider, writes Beutler, include 82-year-old Judge Stephen Breyer’s seat on the US Supreme Court becoming available, Democrats losing their scant Senate majority, and the court attacking electoral reforms if Democrats somehow get them passed in the Senate .

“Here is a nightmare scenario that I encourage everyone – especially Breyer and the Senate Democrats – to imagine that they have to endure,” writes Beutler. “Illness or premature death turns the 50-50 Senate majority of Democrats into a 49-50 Senate minority. You don’t keep your seat. Joe Biden loses re-election. We all hope Breyer can survive into the 1990s so that the Supreme Court doesn’t go from 6-3 to 7-2. Mitch McConnell makes Charlie Kirk fit for a robe. “

He continues, “Now consider this less speculative nightmare scenario. Democrats are leaving the past a thing of the past, leaving court reform out of their larger democracy reform project, changing the filibuster rules, passing both HR 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act – and the existing Supreme Court taking a hatchet. We should know to expect this as the Republicans declared the For the People Act “unconstitutional,” as a kind of bat signal to their allies in court to ensure that the democratic reform does not take effect. “

Beutler added, “We cannot know in advance which provisions of these bills the Supreme Court would invalidate, but it is trivially easy to follow in the footsteps of conservative judges and spread the same pseudo-constitutional arguments that they used in the American elections have belittled law over the past decade leading to new reforms. Campaign Funding Regulations? Well, these obviously violate the 1st amendment. Non-partisan hiking? The federal government cannot dictate such a thing to the states! “

Nightmare scenario from @brianbeutler: Dems adopt pro-democracy reforms and the Supreme Court discourages them: https://t.co/qFLIWTACet pic.twitter.com/7Mv8qbnHDc

– Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) April 16, 2021

Democrats aren’t just exposed to the dangers of the right-wing Supreme Court, however. Republicans who control key state legislatures that are often highly competitive to protect their majorities from fluctuations in public opinion are actively considering how to thwart efforts to ensure a fairer election.

Democracy Docket, in a “legislative alert” released earlier this week, describes Texas House Bill 4507, proposed by Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives, which “would essentially create a two-tier voter registration system to evade the federal proxy protection coming into effect this year could. “

Democracy Docket explains, “HB 4507 establishes two distinct registration procedures: one for federal elections, which would be required to comply with national laws such as the For the People Act, and one for state elections that Texas Republicans claim may ignore these federal requirements . Voters who register for a federal election are not automatically registered for local and state elections unless they meet the much stricter and more exclusive requirements of Texas’ electoral law. Instead, they would have to apply and re-register separately for their local elections. “

On Twitter, Attorney Marc E. Elias, founder of Democracy Docket, described HB 4507 as an example of “how desperate Republicans are to prevent all voters from voting”:

As HR1 / S1 approaches the passage, this is a tactic to watch out for in a series of red states. It shows how desperate Republicans are to prevent all voters from voting

– Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) April 15, 2021

After Washington Post liberal columnist Greg Sargent tweeted Beutler’s “Crooked Media” column, law professor and electoral lawyer Rick Hasan noted:

In carefully devising these electoral reform measures, much can be done to strengthen their constitutionality. Hopefully, if there is a proposal with a serious chance of being passed, electoral law scholars will be consulted.

– Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) April 16, 2021

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