Here’s the quick analysis of today’s Supreme Court argument in Shelby County v. U.S., the case concerning the continued viability of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — the preclearance requirement — from Tom Goldstein, founder of the popular SCOTUSblog:
Following through on the deep constitutional concerns stated in its prior Northwest Austin decision, a majority of the Court seems committed to invalidating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and requiring Congress to revisit the formula for requiring preclearance of voting changes. The vote seems quite likely to be five-to-four. The more liberal members pressed both the narrow argument that an Alabama county was not a proper plaintiff because it inevitably would be covered and the broader argument that there was a sufficient record to justify the current formula. But the more conservative majority was plainly not persuaded by either point. It is unlikely that the Court will write an opinion forbidding a preclearance regime. But it may be difficult politically for Congress to enact a new measure.
Goldstein, who was profiled in The Atlantic in November, correctly predicted that the court would uphold the Affordable Care Act, with Justice John Roberts writing the opinion.