In expressing his deep skepticism Wednesday for the constitutionality of a centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia questioned the motivations of Congress for repeatedly reauthorizing it since it was initially passed in 1965.
"I don't think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act," Scalia said during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder. "They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful -- the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?"PERMALINK | COMMENTS (0) | RECOMMEND RECOMMEND (0)
The Voting Rights Act took a beating from conservative justices Wednesday during oral arguments at the Supreme Court.
At issue is the constitutionality of Section 5 of the 1965 law, which requires state and local governments with a history of voter disenfranchisement to pre-approve any changes that affect voting with the Justice Department or a federal court.
Oral arguments showed a sharp divide along ideological lines and suggested that the conservative majority is strongly inclined to overturn Section 5 of the half-century-old law.
A question posed by Chief Justice John Roberts to the Obama administration's lawyer defending the Voting Rights Act captured the tenor of the proceedings.
"Is it the government's submission that the citizens in the South are more racist than the citizens in the North?" Roberts asked.PERMALINK | COMMENTS (0) | RECOMMEND RECOMMEND (0)
In a Supreme Court filing Monday Justice Sonia Sotomayor shone a spotlight on the government's mismanagement of a Texas drug case when she denounced the racially charged remarks of an assistant U.S. attorney as "an affront to the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the laws." The lawyer's conduct was referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Justice Department, TPM has learned, but what actions were taken against the attorney for those remarks -- if any -- are unclear.PERMALINK | COMMENTS (0) | RECOMMEND RECOMMEND (0)