Supreme Countdown

Saving Us For Last: Wednesday Ruling, for Sure!

supreme court

The U.S. Supreme Court is saving the two high-profile marriage case decisions for the last day of its session –Wednesday, June 26.

The court released three opinions today, including a blockbuster ruling that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. It has only three opinions left to issue –one on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), one on Proposition 8, and one on a racketeering law.

The Chief Justice, who wrote and announced the Voting Rights opinion, said the remaining opinions would all be released tomorrow.

Historically, the Supreme Court tends to release opinions in its most contested cases on the last day of the session. Court veterans say this isn’t because they are high-profilel but because the justices need more time to write opinions and dissents.

It is not of surprise to many that the court might be bogged down in the complications of the marriage cases, given that each had issues of legal standing as well as enormous repercussions for the constitution.

Nor is it a surprise to see a majority strike down the Voting Rights Act. Many had predicted a majority led by Chief Justice Roberts would do so. The majority decision relied a states’ rights argument to strike down a law that required certain states –where discriminatory election laws have kept voter registration and turnout low among blacks– to get preclearance from the federal government before making any changes to their state election laws.

 Lisa Keen, co-author of Strangers to the Law: Gay People on Trial, will be posting nearly daily on legal matters leading up to and beyond the Supreme Court decision. Her coverage on this and other issues is also available at

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