by Walter Dellinger
In its decision in this case, called Shelby County, the five-member majority of the court treats the Congress of the United States like a slow student in a graduate seminar in political science. But Congress is not a student in need of instruction from tutors in black robe. It is constitutionally empowered to paint with a broad brush.
Congress had a very good reason for deciding not to revise the existing Section 5 formula: doing so would likely have caused a legislative train wreck.
Congressional representatives from states covered by the pre-existing formula (mostly in the South) could vote to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act because doing so did not involve accusing their states of currently being more racist than others. It was simply a matter of history. Citizens in these states would not (and could not) dispute the historical fact of racial discrimination. Recognition of that history does not constitute present moral condemnation. And thus it was far better as a matter of pragmatic legislative reality to use the previous formula than attempt to figure out a new, more up-to-date set of rules.
'via Blog this'