The Supreme Court & voting rights: A sound decision
It was a classic no-brainer for the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a 5-4 ruling Tuesday, the high court found Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional. The section — designed to eradicate voter discrimination by requiring nine states and parts of six others to seek federal approval in all matters electoral and renewed by Congress multiple times — relies on decades-old data that do not reflect reality, the court held.
“Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority. Such as registration and turnout rates in the affected jurisdictions now approaching parity. Such as minority candidates holding office at unprecedented levels. Such as actual voting discrimination being rare, he said.
“(H)istory did not end in 1965. ... (H)istory since 1965 cannot be ignored,” Mr. Justice Roberts wrote.
But the usual suspects are apoplectic over the ruling. Among them, the leftist Alliance for Justice. “(A) five-justice majority ... has effectively removed the keystone from the arch of protection for people of color,” wailed group president Nan Aron.
It does nothing of the sort. It invalidated a legal antiquity that Congress repeatedly rubber-stamped for political expediency (while making the rules even more onerous) and opens the door wide for Congress to authorize a new section that relies on the facts on the ground — contemporary data.
After all, as Roberts also wrote, “The (15th) Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; it's purpose is to ensure a better future.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- An independent Scotland? Think again
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
- Drilling laws: Your rights
- U.N. Watch: The aid ingrates
- Connellsville’s clash over authority: Work it out
- Ban felon-lobbyists? A better idea
- Patriot day 2014: Never forget