The Court v. The Voters: The Troubling Story of How the Supreme Court Has Undermined Voting Rights (Hardcover)

The Court v. The Voters: The Troubling Story of How the Supreme Court Has Undermined Voting Rights By Joshua A. Douglas Cover Image
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An urgent and gripping look at the erosion of voting rights and its implications for democracy, told through the stories of 9 Supreme Court decisions—and the next looming case

In The Court v. The Voters, law professor Joshua Douglas takes us behind the scenes of significant cases in voting rights—some surprising and unknown, some familiar—to investigate the historic crossroads that have irrevocably changed our elections and the nation. In crisp and accessible prose, Douglas tells the story of each case, sheds light on the intractable election problems we face as a result, and highlights the unique role the highest court has played in producing a broken electoral system.

Douglas charts infamous cases like:
  • Bush v. Gore, which opened the door to many election law claims

  • Citizens United, which contributed to skewed representation—but perhaps not in the way you might think

  • Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted the vital protections of the Voting Rights Act

  • Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board, which allowed states to enforce voter ID laws and make it harder for people to vote

The Court v. The Voters powerfully reminds us of the tangible, real-world effects from the Court’s voting rights decisions. While we can—and should—lament the democracy that might have been, Douglas argues that we can—and should—double down in our efforts to protect the right to vote.

About the Author

Joshua Douglas is a law professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law and legal expert invested and engaged in helping everyday people understand our elections. His media commentaries have appeared in the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, Reuters, Politico, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and Slate, among others, and he has been quoted in major newspapers and on NPR stations throughout the country. He is the author of a previous book, Vote For US: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting. You can find him active on Twitter at @JoshuaADouglas.

Praise For…

“A solid argument for judicial reform—and if not that, bypassing the Supreme Court whenever possible.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Progressive voters are angry at the Supreme Court for failing to protect voting rights, but many do not understand exactly what the Court did or the stories behind the cases. Joshua Douglas offers a readable field guide to Citizens United, Bush v. Gore, and other notorious election cases that is sure to edify and disturb the curious reader.”
—Richard L. Hasen, author of A Real Right to Vote

The Court v. The Voters is the crucial and compelling story of how the most undemocratic branch of the US government has been chipping away at voting rights protections and election law fairness. In evaluating election rules, the Supreme Court now deemphasizes harm to voters and defers to state lawmakers. But this distressing story doesn’t end here, as Douglas shares his judicious strategies for shoring up our democracy.”
—Jennifer Frost, author of “Let Us Vote!”: Youth Voting Rights and the 26th Amendment

“Are you worried about American democracy? Are you hoping the Supreme Court will save us? Well, for the last five decades, in cases from Bush v. Gore to Citizens United v. FEC, the right-leaning Court has regularly sided with democracy’s enemies. In this incisive, eloquent, and important book, Joshua Douglas has the receipts—and a warning about what the Court might do to us next.”
—Adam Cohen, author of Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court’s Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America

“Professor Douglas persuasively shows how the Supreme Court has profoundly undermined American democracy. He tells the story of nine cases, beginning in 1974, that individually and together have done great damage to the election system in the United States. Saving our democracy requires taking the lessons of this book, and its recommendations, very seriously.”
—Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

“In this smart and important book, Joshua Douglas expertly explains and demystifies urgent topics all Americans need to know and understand: how the Supreme Court spent decades chipping away at voting rights, and what our country can do now to repair the damage.”
—Erin Geiger Smith, author of Thank You for Voting

The Court v. The Voters is required reading for anyone concerned about the future of American democracy. Douglas removes legalese, uses compelling and accessible human stories, and connects the dots to show how an activist US Supreme Court is complicit in dismantling democracy by making up new rules that allow politicians to entrench themselves and suppress the voices of voters.”
—Spencer Overton, author of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression

“Citizens who want to understand the constitutional rules around voting often feel like people entering a play halfway through—the main players throw around case names and doctrines that are unfamiliar and confusing, and ordinary readers get the message that they are outsiders at their own elections. Joshua Douglas, who has devoted his career to understanding election law—and reforming it so that all Americans can vote—here untangles the plot of the play and explains in clear, nontechnical language how we got to the present mess and how We the People can get out of it.”
—Garrett Epps, author of American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution

“Josh Douglas reminds us in The Court v. The Voters of Alexander Hamilton’s prediction that of the branches of government, the judiciary ‘will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution.’ Not anymore, he argues eloquently in this passionate book that briskly but thoughtfully analyzes nine key Supreme Court cases. One of the country’s leading election law experts, Douglas shows how the Supreme Court has become ‘the most dangerous branch’ when it comes to voting rights and the power of political money. An important guide for all who want to protect and advance American democracy.”
—E. J. Dionne Jr., author of Why Americans Hate Politics and co-author of 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting

“Most people who care about our democracy are not scholars or legal experts. That is why this work by Joshua Douglas is so pivotal. He writes in a way that allows anyone to digest the sometimes complex and confusing interplay between the legal and political worlds. This work allows us to easily follow along as Joshua makes a compelling argument that forces us to pay closer attention to the courts and understand its impact on our democracy.”
—Desmond Meade, author of Let My People Vote

“In this thought-provoking and timely book, Joshua Douglas examines how the Supreme Court’s anti-democratic rulings over the past fifty years created a broken electoral system that helped lay the foundation for our current political woes. By profiling the seminal election law cases that demonstrate the Court’s complicity in our decline, this book is a must-read for all who worry about the future of American democracy.”
—Franita Tolson, interim dean, USC Gould School of Law

Product Details
ISBN: 9780807010938
ISBN-10: 0807010936
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Date: May 14th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English