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Continued: Opinion roundup: Supreme Court's historic week

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  • Last update: June 26, 2013 - 7:44 PM

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The court didn’t say racism and voting discrimination are things of the past. It merely said that they are not peculiar to the South, or necessarily more prevalent in the South.

Texas and South Carolina wanted to require voters to present a government-issued photo ID when they show up at the polls. Under the Voting Rights Act, they were barred from doing so. Indiana wanted to impose the same rule. It was allowed.

Was this because the requirements were radically different? No. Because there are black people in Indiana? No. Because Hoosiers get driver’s licenses at birth? No.

It’s because what qualifies as racial discrimination in some places does not qualify as racial discrimination in Indiana.

The unequal treatment of states has been the law since 1965. Southern states had shown a virulent determination to keep African-Americans from voting by any means. Special scrutiny made sense then. It doesn’t make much sense now.

- STEVE CHAPMAN, Chicago Tribune

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THE COURT’S PHILOSOPHY

Which activists in control?

We prefer to think of the Supreme Court as an institution apart from politics and above its struggles. In the wake of this week’s decision gutting the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, its actions must now be viewed through the prism of the conservative movement’s five-decade-long quest for power.

Liberals will still win occasional and sometimes partial victories, as they did Wednesday on same-sex marriage. But on issues directly related to political and economic influence, the court’s conservative majority is operating as a political faction, determined to shape a future in which progressives will find themselves at a disadvantage.

Recall that when conservatives did not have a clear court majority, they railed against “judicial activism.” Now that they have the capacity to impose their will, many of the same conservatives defend extreme acts of judicial activism by claiming they involve legitimate interpretations of the true meaning of the Constitution.

It is an inconsistency that tells us all we need to know. This is not an argument about what the Constitution says. It is a battle for power. And, despite scattered liberal triumphs, it is a battle that conservatives are winning.

E.J. DIONNE JR., Washington Post

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