I just wanted to quote a couple of the liberals who spoke at hearing on the Voting Rights Act, because Justice Scalia and Justice Roberts got all the coverage. Snappy, media-ready shock-quotes will do that:
Remember how US health care was reduced to broccoli?
If you’re a supporter of the Voting Rights Act and you read headlines you might have thought Scalia and Roberts were the only judges there, and you didn’t get a hearing but that isn’t true.
Justice Scalia referred to Section 5 as imposing “these extraordinary procedures that deny the states sovereign powers which the Constitution preserves to them.” Justice Kennedy asked whether “if Alabama wants to acknowledge the wrongs of its past, is it better off doing that if it’s an independent sovereign or if it’s under the trusteeship of the United States government?”
As Justice Stephen G. Breyer put it during the argument: “And one thing to say is, of course this is aimed at states. What do you think the Civil War was about?”
With mounting frustration, the liberal justices tried to make that point. “Why should we make the judgment, and not Congress, about the types and forms of discrimination and the need to remedy them?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked Mr. Rein, Shelby County’s lawyer.
Addressing Mr. Rein, Justice Elena Kagan asked: “You said the problem has been solved. But who gets to make that judgment really? Is it you, or is it the court, or is it Congress?” When the lawyer answered that while Congress can examine a problem, “it is up to the court to determine whether the problem indeed has been solved,” Justice Kagan responded: “Well, that’s a big new power that you are giving us – that we have the power now to decide whether racial discrimination has been solved? I did not think that that fell within our bailiwick.”