Leaving race aside for the moment (did someone mention that the Voting Rights Act has something to do with empowering black voters – who just might, for some strange reason, prefer Democrats?), what the court’s conservatives seem to see in Section 5 is a threat to state sovereignty — the “sovereign dignity” of the states, a phrase Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has used in another federalism context. This theme ran throughout the argument. Justice Scalia referred to Section 5 as imposing “these extraordinary procedures that deny the states sovereign powers which the Constitution preserves to them.” Justice Kennedy asked whether “if Alabama wants to acknowledge the wrongs of its past, is it better off doing that if it’s an independent sovereign or if it’s under the trusteeship of the United States government?”
– A Big New Power, Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times, today, discussing the Feb. 26 argument at the Supreme Court in a case challenging the continuing constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act
Just so you know, the main Reconstruction Amendment at issue in Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder, the Voting Rights Act case–the 15th Amendment–provides in full:
Section. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
That language in Section 2, giving Congress the “power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation,” is standard Constitutional Amendment language.
Source: Angry Bear