Archive for June, 2013

Unconstitutional? Tell us how

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Today’s Supreme Court decision ruling Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional has some strange reasoning. I get that the conservatives on the court wanted to get rid of the VRA and then set about finding a way to do it.

But it strikes me as odd that the decision does not say what constitutional provision is violated by the law. Steve Benen at Maddowblog makes the same point.

But there’s more to the argument that this is a weak claim of unconstitutionality. The so-called conservatives speak fondly of original intent, as though that’s the only valid perspective to use in reading the constitution. Such a view says that the meaning of the constitution never changes. It is what it always has been. Yet today’s majority ruling allows that Section 4 may have been constitutional at one time, but conditions have changed and so it is not now consistent with the Constitution. How can that be, if the meaning is never-changing? Maybe the original intent isn’t so unchanging after all.