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High Court Rules Narrowly In Voting Rights Case

Publication Date: 
June 23, 2009
National Public Radio - Legal Affairs
Nina Totenberg

Professor Pamela S. Karlan and Lecturer in Law Thomas Goldstein were interviewed by Nina Totenberg for National Public Radio in a segment about the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act:

Stanford Law Professor Pam Karlan, a leading voting rights expert, says, in essence, that the court blinked.

Professor Pam Karlan (Law, Stanford University): What the court doesn't want is to have to strike down the Voting Rights Act, because the act is a kind of super-statute. It is an iconic moment of the civil rights movement.

Totenberg: By reinterpreting the Voting Rights law to allow many more jurisdictions to qualify for bail out, says Karlan, the court is giving the law far more flexibility than it had in the past, and that, she suggests, may be enough.

Professor Tom Goldstein (Supreme Court Practice, Stanford and Harvard Law School): I think that the marker laid down today by the Supreme Court is much more serious than that.

Totenberg: Supreme Court advocate Tom Goldstein teaches Supreme Court practice at both Stanford and Harvard Law School.

Prof. Goldstein: The clock is ticking, that the Supreme Court is going to give the Congress a chance to narrow the statute. But if it doesn't take up that invitation, then at least five justices - it seems clear - are ready to strike the statute down if Congress kind of puts them in that corner.