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US Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts participates in the courts official photo session on October 8, 2010 at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.   AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
(TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Remember how upset you were back in 2000, when Bush v Gore was handed down, because not only did the Court reach the wrong result but it also expressly limited the reach of its holding to that one case?
Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.
In other words, the equal protection "principle" announced in that case was a ticket good for one day only, here today and gone tomorrow. Such holdings offend, and undermine, the rule of law. As Richard Re has written, "A legal principle, if sound, is expected to survive the day it was decided and to last far into the future—perhaps even forever."

And again, in the realm of election law, the Roberts Court has issued another such ticket, only much more quietly. Remember Shelby County, the case last year in which the Court gutted the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act? In that case, the Court proclaimed:

Not only do States retain sovereignty under the Constitution, there is also a “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty” among the States. Over a hundred years ago, this Court explained that our Nation “was and is a union of States, equal in power, dignity and authority.” Indeed, “the constitutional equality of the States is essential to the harmonious operation of the scheme upon which the Republic was organized.” At the same time, as we made clear [four years ago], the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty remains highly pertinent in assessing subsequent disparate treatment of States.
A fundamental principle, or one only applicable when Southern states' ability to screw over minority voters is implicated?

Because this term, Gov. Chris Christie and others sought the Court's review of the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which allows only Nevada and a few grandfathered-in states to conduct legalized sports betting. New Jersey wanted in on the action, and with lawyers including Ted Olsen filed a cert petition calling on the Court to end this discrimination, arguing that "States’ ability to enact regulatory measures in response to the expressed preferences of their citizens is no less central to their 'broad autonomy in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives,' than is their ability to regulate elections."

Without comment, the Court Monday declined to review the lower court decision thwarting New Jersey's efforts. That "fundamental principle" which the Court applied to Shelby County, Alabama, in excusing it and countless (mostly Southern) jurisdictions from having to justify their changes in voting and elections? Apparently, not so "fundamental," after all. Big surprise.

Originally posted to Adam B on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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