Today's Supreme Court Decisions: Voting Rights, Baby Girl

U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has ruled in several key cases today:

  • Most notably, the court has struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which sets the formula that determines whether certain parts of the country with a history of racial discrimination need to get federal "preclearance" before enacting voting changes. It is now up to Congress to develop a new formula, which has existed since the 1960s.
  • In the case of "Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl" the court rules in favor of the adoptive parents, and that the Indian Child Welfare Act does not provide enough legal standing for the biological father to claim custody.

Slate's Emily Bazelon discusses the rulings. And Tim Howard of Radiolab -- who reported on "Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl" -- explains that ruling.

Get Up To Speed on the Key Decisions: Our SCOTUS Reading List

Still to Be Decided

  • The Same-Sex Marriage Cases:
    -- Hollingsworth vs. Perrry: Challenges Prop. 8, which amended the California state constitution to allow only opposite-sex couples to marry.
    -- Windsor vs. United States: Challenges the federal definition that marriage — and the associated benefits — is between a man and a woman.

    USA Today Primer | WNYC BreakdownUnited States v. Windsor (Scotus Blog) | Holligsworth v. Perry (Scotus Blog)

  • The Voting Rights Act Case:
    On Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which mandates that certain parts of the country get “preclearance” from the federal government before making election law changes.
    Primer from The Root | Heritage's Shelby 101Shelby County v. Holder (Scotus Blog)

  • The Indian Adoption Case
    On whether an unwed biological father, who initially renounced his custodial rights to his daughter, can rely on a federal law – the Indian Child Welfare Act – to block her adoption by the couple who had cared for her since birth.
    Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (Scotus Blog) | "Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl" (Radiolab)

Already Decided

  • The Workplace Discrimination Case (Decided Monday)
  • Court issues a pro-business decision that claims workplace discrimination under Title VII of the voting rights act only counts in cases where a supervisor has hiring and firing power over an employee.
    Vance Opinion (PDF) | Analysis from Geoffrey Stone | NPR Recap | SCOTUSBlog Info