While conservatives may have had their hopes raised for a complete invalidation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, there is reason for advocates of a colorblind society to be cheered. It seems time is on their side.
Tom Goldstein has it right on the Supreme Court’s ruling:
Though the Supreme Court by a wide margin today formally declined to resolve a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5, the reality is far different. The decision unambiguously served notice that the Justices are prepared to invalidate the statute as it stands. Congress is now effectively on the clock: it has the period between now and the date that it decides a follow-on challenge by a covered jurisdiction that is not permitted to ‘bail out’ of the statutory scheme to amend Section 5. If the statute remains the same by the time the next case arrives, the Court will invalidate the statute.
His entire post is worth reading, but the upshot is clear: the days when the liberal civil rights lobby could rely on past discrimination to justify extraordinary federal supervision of all elections are running out.
But then the public’s patience with identity politics is ebbing. We also had news that voters will have another opportunity to vote down racial preferences:
Arizonans will vote next year on a proposed state constitutional amendment to generally prohibit state and local governments from discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity and sex. The House already approved the measure Thursday, so Senate passage on a 17-11 vote without debate Monday sends the measure championed by Republican legislators and California activist Ward Connerly to Arizona’ November 2010 ballot. If Arizona voters approve the amendment, the state would join four other states – California, Nebraska, Michigan and Washington – that have approved versions.
I wonder why the 11 state senators didn’t want to debate an important issue like this on the merits, but perhaps it has to do with public sentiment about quotas and racial preferences. It seems that neither public opinion nor time is on the side of those who would retain a system of racial spoils and perpetual victim status.