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The Shelby Disgrace

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Paul’s piece was worth the wait:

The decision in Shelby County is actually more nonsensical than even this outlandish hypothetical suggests. What the Roberts Five actually held is that it’s not merely a bad idea, but actually irrational, for Congress (by a combined vote of 488 to 33) to reenact a law that is working so well, because since it is working so well it’s no longer necessary to have such a law.

But this decision is yet more outrageous. The Constitution was specifically amended in the most explicit possible terms to allow Congress to pass precisely this sort of law, for this precise purpose. The 15th Amendment was enacted to give Congress the power to stop states from discriminating against racial minorities in regard to the right to vote.

So what we have here is a situation in which a war was fought in which 600,000 soldiers died, in large part so that the Constitution could be amended in such a way as to give Congress the power to force the slave states to treat black people like human beings. A century later, Congress gets around to actually using this power, and the law it passes is a remarkable success.

But according to the Roberts Five, it’s unconstitutional for Congress to enforce legislation specifically mandated by the Constitution, because it has carried out its legislative responsibilities too well.

As I said below, call me old-fashioned, but when the Supreme Court strikes down an act of Congress it should at least make a token effort to explain what constitutional provision is being violated. And make no mistake, the consequences of this lawlessness are going to be grim.

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