The Supreme Court granted cert to a challenge to the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act on Friday. I wish I was optimistic, but when there’s a clash between real rights and states’ “rights,” we know where the Roberts Court is likely to end up:
So the Supreme Court should uphold Section 5. But will it? It’s difficult to be optimistic. First of all, the Court generally doesn’t hear cases merely to uphold the status quo, and the D.C. Circuit Court opinion it has agreed to review upheld the preclearance provision, leaving the current state of the law undisturbed. This indicates at least some measure of support on the Court for reconsidering Katzenbach. Justice Clarence Thomas is already on the record as believing that Section 5 is unconstitutional, and Justice John Roberts’s opinion leaving that question aside in that same case wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Section 5, either. And, of course, earlier this year the Republican majority on the Court announced a willingness to place radical new judicial restrictions on federal power (although the Affordable Care Act was saved based on Chief Justice Roberts’s reading of the federal tax power).
Much more on why this would be a terrible outcome at the link. More from Serwer.