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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 12:03 AM

Current Conditions by Linda Greenhouse (S.Ct.)

“While any racial discrimination in voting is too much,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told us in Tuesday’s decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, “Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

Well, here’s a current condition: the ink was barely dry on the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder when Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas announced that his state’s voter-ID law, blocked by a federal court last summer, “will take effect immediately.”

The Texas statute has the most stringent requirements of any voter-ID law in the country. The three-judge federal panel, pointing out in a 56-page opinion the several less onerous versions that the Legislature had rejected, found that the state had failed to meet its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to show that the law wouldn’t have the effect of suppressing the minority vote.

With his precipitous in-your-face move, the Texas attorney general may be doing us a favor, making clear that the court’s decision has real and immediate consequences. Welcome to the Roberts court’s brave new post-Voting Rights Act world.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/current-conditions/?hp

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