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337Section 4 of VRA struck down, leaving Section 5 applying to nothing

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  • Jon Roland
    Jun 25, 2013
      Interesting majority opinion, striking down Section 4, removing disparate coverage, but leaving Section 5 preclearance untouched, perhaps to be applied to a different coverage formula that Congress must now devise, if Section 5 is to be applied to anything. In the meantime, it applies to a null set, which, at least temporarily, nullifies it.

      As usual, Justice Thomas, in his concurring but separate opinion, sums it up:
      While the Court claims to “issue no holding on §5 itself,” ante, at 24, its own opinion compellingly demonstrates that Congress has failed to justify “ ‘current burdens’ ” with a record demonstrating “ ‘current needs.’ ” See ante, at 9 (quoting Northwest Austin, supra, at 203). By leaving the inevitable conclusion unstated, the Court needlessly prolongs the demise of that provision. For the reasons stated in the Court’s opinion, I would find §5 unconstitutional.

      -- Jon
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