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No Rest for the Wicked — or The U.S. Supreme Court

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Every morning, like little robots, we stood up, put our right hand over our chest, and recited:

I pledge allegiance

To the flag

Of the United States of America …

We were socialized every day to believe that we live in the best country in the world — we could crush any country with our trillion-dollar military and our moral high ground. We were molded to become arrogant assholes.

This is why I think it is easy for Americans to be so chill when our government does fucked up things. I think there is a level of calm that was implanted in us; we live in the best country in the world, so there is no need to care too much — it will all sort itself out in the end, right?

I love the optimism, but we have to start realizing that the U.S. Supreme Court’s actions are not ones that the land of the free would take. We do not sit (and have never sat) on a high horse of superior ethics in our legal system. We discriminate every day so that the powerful and wealthy can gain more power and wealth. We have been fed lies that we have a right to be arrogant assholes, but I am here to say that we have no business being so, and the Supreme Court’s new term exemplifies this.

On October 3, the Supreme Court started its 2022-2023 term. This means that the court has a bunch of pending cases, waiting to be heard and decided on. The Supreme Court finished its last term off with regressive decisions that set back climate change action, opened access to guns, stripped women of their bodily autonomy, and so on – thus, we can expect that this conservative supermajority court is not done gutting social justice precedents.

Below, I outline just a couple of the pending cases before the Supreme Court that have the potential to devastate our democracy, specifically concerning voting rights.


Merrill v. Milligan challenges Alabama’s congressional map from 2021 as violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which bans voting rules or practices that discriminate based on race. Alabama took part in gerrymandering — manipulating the borders of voting districts to favor one’s party. This racial redistricting crucially decreases the power of Black voters, making it much more difficult for them to elect people who would represent their interests. This case could basically gut what is left of the monumental Voting Rights Act. 

If people of color’s vote don’t hold the same weight as others do, guess what party wins every time? It’s all about power at the end of the day. If the Republican party gains any more control over people’s votes, then we no longer have a true say in our government. Any — I repeat ANY — regulation or limitation of votes is strictly undemocratic, and we need to take that very seriously.


Moore v. Harper concerns gerrymandering again, this time in North Carolina. What makes this case distinct is how it could completely change the way in which federal elections are conducted. Basically, the Republican state legislature is pushing for the court to rule in favor of the independent state legislature theory — if adopted into law by the court, state legislatures, not the state courts, would hold the final say over the rules of federal elections. This is the theory that Trump and his allies used for their allegations that the 2020 election was fraudulent. If this theory becomes precedent, then state congresses would have absolute control over their elections. In states with Republican congresses, you better believe that there would be rampant gerrymandering and voting restrictions passed, limiting the voting power of any marginalized group.

This is terrifying. State legislatures would have unchecked power. May I remind you, the entire foundation of our government is to have checks and balances so that one institution does not have too much control. With unchecked power, states with Republican congresses would see a sickening number of discriminatory election regulations. If the court rules in favor of this theory, we become an oligarchical state, not a democratic one.

I want to scare you. I want to scare you because I am petrified that the Supreme Court’s new term could mean the doom of American democracy. I urge you to please, PLEASE, vote. I know it seems minuscule, and you may already be voting in a Democratic state, but if we uplift our own voices and vote, that spirit will spread throughout the country and excite others to use their vote too.

Act like your actions decide our future because they do.

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Nicole Malanga

U Mass Amherst '23

Nicole Malanga is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst pursuing a degree in political science with minors in history and women, gender, and sexuality studies. Nicole can be found in her happy places either dancing, drinking coffee, or being surrounded by loved ones. She can't stop reading corny romance novels and loves to read/learn about sociology, social justice, and spirituality. This is Nicole's second semester with HC, and she loves being a part of this female-centric space.