UPDATES: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down part of Voting Rights Act; no decisions on gay marriage | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

UPDATES: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down part of Voting Rights Act; no decisions on gay marriage

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 8:38 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release additional opinions at 9 a.m. Central today. Still awaiting decisions this term:

* THE FEDERAL DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT: Can legally married same-sex couples continue to be discriminated against? UPDATE: No opinion today.

* GAY MARRIAGE: The challenge of the overthrow of Prop. 8, which banned gay marriage in California. UPDATE: No opinion today.

* VOTING RIGHTS: Does the Votings Right Act continue to have meaning in the era of a color-blind (even color antagonistic) Republican court majority?

UPDATED Answer: Not so much as before. From scotusblog on a 5-4 decision:

Holding: Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. Its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.

From Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion:

Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2. We issue no holding on [Section] 5 itself, only on the coverage formula. Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions"

President Obama, civil rights group, unions and others have roundly condemned the decision as a retreat from civil rights. Expect more of the same from this court. Inevitably, they'll be asked — and likely approve — plans like the Billionaire Boys Club's effort to not only allow but promote white flight from majority black to majority white school districts with portable state tax money.

I liked Eschaton's analysis:

SCOTUS says places with histories of violating the voting rights of minorities are now free to continue doing so.

More specifically, they chucked out section 4 which determined which areas needed pre-clearance for changes to voting laws under section 5 of the Voter Rights Act. Congress could fix it (well, probably they couldn't even if they wanted to), and monkeys could fly out of my butt, so section 5 is essentially dead.

Justice Ruth Ginsburg blistered the majority for hubris in overriding congressional reauthorization of the act. Josh Marshall says it's now "open season" on minority voters. Arkansas Republicans opened fire on them in the last legislative session, of course. Also: Greg Sargent explains how the decision aids the Republicans' war on voting.

Early bad omens in today's Supreme Court decisions were two opinions written by Alito, the first in a Florida "takings" case where there was yet another of the frequent 5-4 votes with the usual suspects: Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy deciding. The second Alito opinion, however, was on the question in an adoption case of whether a Cherokee biological father's rights couldbe terminated in a state court. A court split on non-ideological lines said the Indian Welfare Act doesn't prevent termination of parental rights.

The three remaining cases will be announced at 9 a.m. Central tomorrow. Indications are, scotusblog says, that Chief Justice Roberts will be author of the opinion on Prop. 8 and Justice Kennedy on the DOMA case.

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