Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, which is challenging the constitutionality of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, specifically the provisions of Section 5, which require certain states to receive Federal permission before altering any of their voting laws.
Note that this law was so controversial that, when it was re-authorized in 2006, it squeaked through the Senate on a vote of 98 to 0.
During his questioning, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that the protections of Section 5 were a form of “racial entitlement” that the “normal political” process could not be trusted to get rid of, because no legislator would ever be brave enough to vote against something called the “Voting Rights Act.” It apparently did not occur to Justice Scalia that legislators of both parties had done their due diligence and determined that the law was still useful. One does not need to be brave in order to not be stupid.
Needless to say, such comments sparked huge controversy. Continue reading