Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chief Justice Roberts's Paean to Equal State Sovereignty

In striking the coverage formula for the preclearance provision in the Voting Rights Act today, Chief Justice Roberts wrote a good three-plus pages on state sovereignty--and particularly the doctrine of "equal sovereignty."  According to the Chief, the coverage formula, which the majority held outdated, violated this principle.  More: He wrote that this principle applies beyond the admission of states to the Union; it applies here.  The Chief planted this time-bomb in Northwest Austin; it's now coming home to roost.

Here's part of what he said:

Not only do States retain sovereignty under the Constitution, there is also a "fundamental principle of equal sovereignty" among the States.  [Northwest Austin (citing United States v. Louisiana); Lessee of Pollard v. Hagan; Texas v. White.]  Over a hundred years ago, this Court explained that our Nation "was and is a union of States, equal in power, dignity and authority."  [Coyle v. Smith.]  Indeed, "the constitutional equality of the States is essential to the harmonious operation of the scheme upon which the Republic was organized."  Coyle concerned the admission of new States, and Katzenbach rejected the notion that the principle operated as a bar on differential treatment outside that context.  At the same time, as we made clear in Northwest Austin, the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty remains highly pertinent in assessing subsequent disparate treeatment of States.



Cases and Case Materials, Congressional Authority, Elections and Voting, Federalism, Fifteenth Amendment, News, Opinion Analysis | Permalink

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One hundred and fifty years ago some of the states tried to secede, America fought a civil war largely about race, the seceding states lost and agreed to accept the 15th Amendment. Didn't that ratify a "fundamental principle of equal sovereignty"?

Posted by: Hank Sedan | Jun 25, 2013 9:04:40 AM

Problem is this country has forgotten that we are a REPUBLIC. I have no idea of what we are no. I do not recognize the United States I fought in a war for. I no longer have a Country it's gone. What happens next I suggest will not be anything a true patriot/warrior American will recognize. God forgive us for what we have done.

Posted by: Charlie | Jun 30, 2013 6:07:13 PM

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