Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Supremes Send a Message to Congress on the CIvil Rights Act

In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court and ruled that a Texas water district could indeed petition the feds to opt out of Federal oversight of its local elections, something required by Section 5 of the Civil Rights Act.

Ruling narrowly, the court did not rule on the basic constitutionality of Section 5, though several justices did hint that they found it dubious, with Clarence Thomas providing the single dissenting vote, saying that provision was unconstitutional.

The Roberts Court has sent a message to the Congress. The Chief Justice, by ensuring that some version of justice was meted out narrowly in this case, has let the legislative body know that a thorough review of the Civil Rights Act is required. Overturning Congressional statutes is not taken lightly by the Supremes, and it is always better for the political branch to do its job and decide matters politically than it is for the Court to decide political matters judicially.

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