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Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, pontificating from her regular perch at nytimes.com, unapologetically urged the conservative Supreme Court justices to embrace left-wing emotional and political symbolism on voting rights in Thursday's "The Supreme Court’s Identity Crisis on Voting Rights."
A thought experiment: Suppose the 50th anniversary of the march for voting rights in Selma, Ala. -- Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge -- had fallen on March 7, 2013 rather than the week before last. Eight days before my imaginary anniversary, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Shelby County v. Holder. Four months later, the 5-to-4 decision in that case cut the heart out of the very victory that the Selma marchers had sacrificed to achieve, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Greenhouse, who certainly showed a liberal bent in her years of Supreme Court for the Times, has really let her hair down in her opinion pieces, to the detriment of her reasoning, which in her latest relied on a time-distorting thought experiment to ponder whether conservative justices would have acted her way on voter ID, based on fear of the "public spotlight" and...."the best speech" of Obama's presidency at Selma?
Would the court really have had the nerve to do it, with the memories of the march’s veterans still echoing for the world to hear and with President Obama making perhaps the best speech of his presidency?In the full glare of that public spotlight, would there really have been no member of the Shelby County majority who might have found his way (yes, the five were all men) to a different result?