The Supreme Court said Friday it will review a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that has been the federal government’s most forceful tool in protecting minority rights at the polls. The decision ensures that race and civil rights will be the hallmark of the current Supreme Court term.
The challenge to Section 5 of the 1964 Voting Rights Act was launched two years ago, and the court added it to its docket just days after an energized minority electorate played a critical role in the reelection of President Obama, the nation’s first African American president.
…Or, to be considerably more objective than the Washington Post feels like being:
Specially at issue is the constitutionality of the law’s Section 5, the most important provision, under which nine states and parts of seven others with a past history of racial bias in voting must get official clearance in Washington before they may put into effect any change in election laws or procedures, no matter how small. The Court came close to striking down that section three years ago, but instead sent Congress clear signals that it should update the law so that it reflects more recent conditions, especially in the South. Congress did nothing in reaction.
And that’s probably going to end up biting a bunch of people on the buttocks. The Supreme Court gets a bit testy when Congress doesn’t take a hint.
PS: …What, the merits? Let me be cynical about this: merits are irrelevant to the topic at hand. Section V is the lynchpin to a racial gerrymandering system that everybody in Washington DC loves. Black Democrats love it because it guarantees perpetual urban political dynasties. Republicans love it because it guarantees them safer suburban seats. White Democrats love it because it lets them accuse Republicans of being racist schemers who want to… break up the very districts that Republicans rely upon to create their safer suburban seats. Everybody’s happy! …Except for the poor folks (and they’re usually poor) who have to deal with the aforementioned urban political dynasties. But that’s just a minor detail.
Sorry: I’m being more cynical about this than usual. Mostly because it occurs to me that even if Section V gets overthrown the parties probably STILL won’t create competitive seats.