Harry Reid, looking up to the sky from the Senate floor, said that Ted Kennedy would “smile at all of us” when the immigration bill passed. Smile, sure, Mr. Senator, but are you certain you’re looking in the right direction?
In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which among other things required some jurisdictions — mostly southern states — to get approval from the Justice Department before making even the tiniest changes to their voting procedures. The law has been renewed many times without much debate, most recently in 2006. The list of covered jurisdictions has been stuck in a time warp: Why should some states have more freedom of action than others based on what happened when George Wallace was a governor? The Supreme Court has on several occasions urged Congress to update the law, and Congress has ignored it each time. Now the Supreme Court has thrown out the law’s list of covered jurisdictions. Liberals are saying that the justices are acting like legislators, which is rich coming from them. The charge has some sting to it, but in their limited defense, the justices have clearly thought about these issues more than the actual legislators did.