But Section 5 outlived its purpose decades ago—and the federal government is still forcing some voting jurisdictions to justify all of their local rule changes. Von Spakovsky points out:
[Section 5] effectively presumes that all voting-related actions by certain states and jurisdictions are discriminatory and therefore requires that they obtain pre-approval from the federal government for otherwise ordinary and routine actions, such as moving a polling station from a school that is under renovation to another one down the street or drawing new redistricting plans. This is a major and unusual imposition on state sovereignty.
What was originally intended to safeguard individual liberty has become a way for the feds to attack state liberty. For the Department of Justice and many activists, Section 5 merely exists to bully local authorities.
Von Spakovsky says that if Section 5 were struck down, “The only change would be to curb the abuses of federal bureaucrats and check the power and influence of the liberal activist groups that rely on Section 5 to enforce their agendas.”
Like all statist solutions to any problem whatsoever, the “solution” eventually becomes worse – and in some cases, far worse, than the problem it was intended to solve. And, of course, the other primary characteristic of statism – once enacted, no legislation can ever be repealed – ensures that the solution just becomes a bigger and bigger problem itself, and moreover, a problem that can only be remedied by passing more legislation.
Hence the only practical solution is to go to a different branch of the state – the courts – and seek to overturn problematic laws. Of course, the courts are an integral pillar of the state as well, and so have encrusted themselves with traditions like stare decisis, in which old law, even if it is bad or unconstitutional law, is given great respect and overturned only grudgingly and in the most pressing circumstances (usually when the law infringes the powers of the state in some way), not to mention an automatic assumption that laws passed by the legislature and signed into law by the executive deserve primacy over even clear constitutional directives to the contrary. This is the sort of logic that assumes any laws passed by Congress must, by virtue of their passage, be assumed to be constitutional unless drastic evidence to the contrary is presented – and, again, the most effective sort of evidence is that the law in some way limits the “necessary” powers of the state. Chief Justice Roberts’ recent contortions designed to find a way to pretend that Obamacare constitutes a legitimate and constitutionally protected tax, rather than the obvious infringements on several of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, not to mention the enumeration of powers in the body of the constitution itself, is a good example of this tendency.
Which is why my working assumption is that while SCOTUS may tinker around the edges of this law a bit, they will leave it essentially unchanged. I could be wrong, but close to a hundred years of history have led me to that belief.
Yeah, well, as I say, I’ll believe it when I see them actually do something about it. Of course, voting rights aren’t as big a problem in the United States as voting theft, fraud, and corruption, but, you know: One (baby) step at a time.