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Courtly Politics

Publication Date: 
June 25, 2009
The Washington Post
E. J. Dionne Jr.

Professor Pamela S. Karlan is quoted in a Washington Post Op-Ed about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act:

Reading between the lines, Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor and one of the country's leading voting rights experts, concluded that Roberts tried and failed to put together a majority for gutting Section 5.

"What the decision indicates is that the conservative wing of the court didn't have five votes," she said in an interview. "I don't think this was a minimalist decision. I think it's a compromise decision because there are five justices who didn't want to strike down the act."


Moreover, as Karlan notes, the Voting Rights Act has earned iconic status in American law as "one of the few acts in American history that was the product of a truly mass mobilization." Ripping out the statute's heart would have imposed "a clear political cost to the court." Yes, you can bet the court pays attention to politics.