The Supreme Court on Thursday kept in place a Florida law that requires felons to pay fees before they vote.
She described the mandate as a "voter paywall," while adding that the Supreme Court's "inaction continues a trend of condoning disfranchisement."
The move will prevent some voters from registering in Florida's August primary and possibly in the November election.
The case involved a 2018 initiative where voters ended the permanent disenfranchisement of felons who have completed their sentences. Many other states have similar measures.
Access to Florida’s ballot box has been at the center of myriad legal disputes, underscoring the important role the state plays in determining the balance of power not only in Florida but also in Washington. With thin margins often deciding key races, the outcome of the legal battle could have deep ramifications because the state’s estimated 774,000 disenfranchised felons represent a significant bloc, according to an analysis from The Associated Press.
Many of the state's felons are black and presumably Democrats.
The left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center, along with other organizations representing felons, asked Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas earlier in the month to set aside the stay.
"With impending registration deadlines and a primary to be held next month, the urgency is ratcheted up," said Nancy Abudu, the deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to The Associated Press. "We are asking the Supreme Court to maintain the district court’s order which set clear, direct guidelines for the state and counties to follow after months of delay on the state’s part, so that all eligible Floridians can cast a ballot in the 2020 elections."
Judge Robert L. Hinkle, of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee, had issued a preliminary injunction before a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit echoed his ruling.