‘Dissents Speak to a Future Age’

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view.

Ginsburg’s dissent in Shelby County v. Holder, a 5-4 decision in 2012 in which the Court’s conservative majority invalidated key portions of the Voting Rights Act, is one for the ages. This line is perfect:

Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.

Sunday, 20 September 2020