In a scathing dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg accused her conservative counterparts of displaying “hubris” in striking down a key portion of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Ginsburg wrote that the five justices who voted to overturn Section 4 of the law were displaying judicial activism and a loss of contact with reality in saying that the “pre-clearance” provisions of the law don’t apply today.
“Leaping to resolve Shelby County’s facial challenge without considering whether application of the VRA to Shelby County is constitutional, or even addressing the VRA’s severability provision, the Court’s opinion can hardly be described as an exemplar of restrained and moderate decisionmaking,” Ginsburg wrote.
“Quite the opposite. Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the VRA.”
Ginsburg was joined in her dissent by the three other liberal-leaning justices — Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan.
Ginsburg contrasted what she called Congress’ thoughtful decision-making in renewing the Voting Rights Act in 2006 with Tuesday’s majority opinion by the Supreme Court. She scolded Chief Justice John Roberts for using data based on voter registration numbers instead of carefully considering the legislation Congress renewed with overwhelming majorities in both chambers in 2006.
“The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. Instead, it relies on increases in voter registration and turnout as if that were the whole story,” Ginsburg wrote.
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