Instead, the bulk of the discussion concerned Congress' actions in 2006, when overwhelming majorities in the Republican-led Congress approved and President George W. Bush signed a 25-year extension of the prior-approval measure, which was first adopted in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Scalia pointed to the lopsided vote as a reason to question its legitimacy, even though as Kagan said, every senator in states covered by the law voted for it. Perhaps, he said, they decided "they'd better not vote against it, that there's nothing, that there's none of their interests in voting against it."
Later, Scalia said he worries that the provision will never fade away because members of Congress would be reluctant to risk a vote against it. "It's a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress," he said.
Scalia capped his comment with this observation: "Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?"
A decision is expected by late June.
The case is Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder, 12-96.
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