Schuette, Electoral Process Guarantees and the New Neutrality
Posted: 24 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 23, 2015
In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the United States Supreme Court addressed the breadth of electoral process guarantees, which have stood as a bulwark against attempts to impose extra electoral burdens on discrete minorities. While the Schuette holding is clear — federal constitutional guarantees are not necessarily violated by the voters’ amending their state constitution to preclude the state from affording racial preferences — the plurality opinion raises more questions than it answers both with respect to the particular constitutional doctrine before the Court and with respect to equal protection jurisprudence more generally. The plurality has now not only left open what electoral process guarantees mean and whether they have any force, but has also muddled equal protection jurisprudence. The article concludes that the Schuette plurality not only undermined the electoral process jurisprudence that it was claiming to follow, but misapplied settled equal protection principles, which will create chaos in the lower courts unless corrected or clarified.
Keywords: electoral process guarantees, equal protection, race, neutrality
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation