The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in high-profile voting rights cases Tuesday morning, while an ad campaign compared the justices to segregationists who opposed the civil rights movement.
Left-wing organization Demand Justice, which calls for reforms such as court-packing, paid for an ad that will run starting Tuesday in the Washington, D.C. area, Politico reported, while the court considers the cases that deal with Arizona laws against ballot harvesting and voting outside of one’s precinct. Democrats opposed the restrictions, claiming they are discriminatory against minority voters who rely on voting out of precinct or by having others hand in their absentee ballots for them.
“In 1965, opponents of voting rights swung clubs on a bridge in Selma,” a voice-over says. “Today, they sit on the highest court.”
The ad specifically targets Chief Justice John Roberts, accusing him of leading a charge to oppose the efforts of the late Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who fought for equal rights.
“John Lewis marched and bled so the Voting Rights Act could become law,” the voice-over says at the beginning, “but now John Roberts and his Supreme Court are set to destroy his legacy.”
Demand Justice’s executive director, Brian Fallon, told Politico that one of his group’s goals with the ad “is to bring attention to this case and maybe shame Roberts and at least one other conservative out of gutting what remains of the Voting Rights Act.”
Republicans have been in favor of laws prohibiting ballot harvesting — the practice of allowing third parties unrelated to the voters to collect and turn in people’s absentee ballots — due to election security concerns.
Fallon said that Demand Justice’s other aim is to urge Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. He also said that support for the bill is tied to support for ending the filibuster because “any meaningful push to pass the John Lewis Act” would need the elimination of the filibuster in order to pass it.
The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in the Arizona cases, Brnovich v. DNC and Arizona Republican Party v. DNC, at 10 a.m. via teleconference, which has been the court’s practice throughout the coronavirus pandemic.