Following through on the deep constitutional concerns stated in its prior Northwest Austin decision, a majority of the Court seems committed to invalidating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and requiring Congress to revisit the formula for requiring preclearance of voting changes. The vote seems quite likely to be five to four. The more liberal members pressed both the narrow argument that an Alabama county was not a proper plaintiff because it inevitably would be covered and the broader argument that there was a sufficient record to justify the current formula. But the more conservative majority was plainly not persuaded by either point. It is unlikely that the Court will write an opinion forbidding a preclearance regime. But it may be difficult politically for Congress to enact a new measure. More analysis soon.

Posted in Everything Else

Recommended Citation: Tom Goldstein, From the Shelby County argument, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 27, 2013, 10:55 AM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/02/from-the-shelby-county-argument/