The Supreme Court granted four new cases on Friday, including a new challenge to the Voting Rights Act. The excitement about the Voting Rights Act review was shortly eclipsed, however, by Justice Sonia Sotomayor's second appearance on Sesame Street.
Just so we can pretend to have our priorities in order, we're discussing the grants first.
The four new cases are:
- Shelby County v. Holder -- Examining whether Congress' decision in 2006 to reauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act under the pre-existing coverage formula of Section 4(b) of the Act exceeded its authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and thus violated the Tenth Amendment and Article IV of the Constitution.
- Peugh v. U.S. -- Considering whether a sentencing court violates the Ex Post Facto Clause by using the Sentencing Guidelines in effect at the time of sentencing rather than the Guidelines in effect at the time of the offense.
- American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant -- Whether the Federal Arbitration Act permits courts, invoking the "federal substantive law of arbitrability," to invalidate arbitration agreements on the ground that they do not permit class arbitration of a federal-law claim.
- Maryland v. King -- Addressing whether the Fourth Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA from people arrested and charged with serious crimes.
Of these four grants, the Voting Rights Act case will be the most closely watched. As The New York Times points out, the law's opponents argue that "the re-election of the nation's first black president is proof that the nation has moved beyond the racial divisions that gave rise to efforts to protect the integrity of elections in the South," but advocates say the Act continues to play "a pivotal role beating back discriminatory voting measures."
While there may be a question regarding whether the South can hold fair elections without the VRA, Justice Sotomayor suggests there can be no debate regarding "princess" as a career option.
In a recent Sesame Street guest spot to discuss career paths, Justice Sotomayor told Abby Cadabby "pretending to be a princess is fun, but it is definitely not a career."
(Sidebar: We respectfully disagree. Anne Hathaway is proof that pretending to be a princess is a career. Kate Middleton and Charlene Whitstock give us hope that actually being a princess can be a career.)
For those considering SCOTUS-sanctioned career paths, Justice Sotomayor suggests becoming a teacher, lawyer, doctor, engineer, or scientist.
Based on the "dismal job market for entry-level attorneys," one of the science-related fields might be a safer bet than a legal career. Staci Zaretsky at Above the Law notes that, "some recent law school graduates would be far more likely to find jobs as princesses."
- Justice Sonia Sotomayor Goes to Sesame Street (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Counties Sue on Voting Rights Act (FindLaw's D.C. Circuit Blog)
- Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor Visits 'Sesame Street' To Talk About Careers (Huffington Post)