I’ve seen a lot of comments already about the Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. I haven’t read the decision itself, but I thought this was a key part of it (assuming, of course, that the NYT got it right):
“Chief Justice Roberts said that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data. When the law was last renewed, in 2006, Congress relied on data from decades before. The chances that the current Congress could reach agreement on where federal oversight is required are small, most analysts say.”
So, it seems to me, that the problem is not so much with the decision as it is with the fact that Congress doesn’t function. I would think it would be *desirable* to use contemporary data since the demographic makeup of the country has changed. Could there be places, for example, where hispanic immigrants have difficulty voting, but had no history of discrimination during the civil rights era?
Maybe this was intended as nothing more than a backdoor way of scrapping the whole thing but, as with Health Care reform, it seems like part of this decision is a critique of a dysfunctional legislative branch.
Another way to put it would be: Our society (in spite of some pop culture trends that would suggest otherwise) is not encased in amber. Why would we assume that the challenges to equal rights would therefore be unchanging, or always in the same geographic locale?
The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a central portion of the Voting Rights Act, originally passed in 1965 and since updated by Congress, holding that Section 4 was unconstitutional.