The Amendment Of The Voting Rights Act

936 WordsNov 5, 20154 Pages
Thus, when faced with arbitrary legislative action or inaction, judicial intervention “is not only appropriate but essential” to protect citizens’ constitutional rights. Furthermore, when the Court resolves constitutional questions that, for whatever reasons, elected representatives, cannot, its rulings can guide lower courts, legislators, and citizens concerning the scope of individual rights and permissibility of governmental conduct. When the Court applies the standing doctrine regardless of legislative inertia or entrenchment, some citizens are left with rights but no remedies and a government that is unaccountable and unresponsive to its citizens. This was precisely the point that Justice Scalia made in Shelby County, and most likely why the Court refused to defer to Congress despite overwhelming support for re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act. Noting that “they [Senators] are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act,” and suggesting that the Act would be “reenacted in perpetuity unless … unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution,” Justice Scalia recognized the necessity for judicial intervention in this situation. The same principle should be applied when politically powerless citizens seek to challenge the constitutionality of law and redress through the democratic process is nothing but an exercise in futility. To deny such citizens standing where they assert a legally cognizable harm, are within the

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