Voting Rights Act: Winning the Case While Losing the Principle

Yesterday morning, by a vote of five to four, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress could no longer rely on data of state racial discrimination affecting voting rights which had been assembled in the 1960's and 1970's to justify the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act.  Under the preclearance provision (section 4) struck down by the Court, some States and their political subdivisions had been required since 1965 to obtain approval by specified federal authorities in Washington, D.C. before any change in their voting laws can take effect. The opinion in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder was written by Justice Roberts.  Justice Thomas wrote aconcurring opinion.  A dissent was filed by Justice Ginsburg, with Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.  While the Court ruled that section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional, this decision was anything but a principled victory, and, indeed, has opened the door to further legislation that...(Read Full Article)