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Interesting Federalism Case:
My good friend Erica Hashimoto has a guest post at Concurring Opinions on a very interesting Supreme Court case, Riley v. Kennedy. The question: Can officials in the Department of Justice charged with enforcing the Voting Rights Act require a state to comply with a local ordinance that the state's highest court has held violates the state constitution?
Dave N (mail):
It does seem like an interesting case, but I suspect the Supremes will come out in favor of Alabama's state procedure on grounds of comity and federalism and will not require Alabama to follow a state law that violates the state constitution (and does not violate the federal constitution).
3.11.2008 12:23am
Paul Allen:
I'm not familiar with the voting rights act. Is it possible that the court has a statutory resolution to this matter: say that the prior appointment system was by precedent already precleared, and the DoJ did not act consistent?
3.11.2008 12:34am
George Weiss (mail) (www):
seems to me this case has ripeness issues

the gov could simply take the state supreme court decisions to the dc circuit for declaratory judgment that the decisions were not discriminatory..(the other way to get a preclearance)..and it hasn't done so and has instead appealed to the SCOTUS....considering the fact that the decisions are clearly not discriminatory in the meaning of the voting rights act...i don't see why they wouldn't get it.
3.11.2008 1:06am
PersonFromPorlock:
Does a state law that's been found to be in violation of that state's constitution by that state's highest court even exist?
3.11.2008 10:27am
Oren:
Weiss, that would indeed be the logical way to do it.

PfP, of course it still exists.
3.11.2008 5:42pm
Jim Rose (mail) (www):
I'm not sure it's quite analogous, but I litigated a situation when the highest court in New York found a broad search and seizure protection existed under New York state's constitution, but a federal regulation of the Department of Transportation permitted a search without probable cause. The Federal Court held that a single federal bureaucrat had the power to override a state constitutional protection.
3.11.2008 6:13pm
kelvin mccabe:
I thought state statues found to be in violation of state constitution's by the state's highest court were void ab initio?

Since the statute is void by the act of the state supreme court- isn't person from porlock's question legitimate?

As far as the state court's are concerned, the state supreme court's ruling has the same practical effect as if the law never existed?? Its been awhile since i studied this in lawschool.
3.11.2008 6:52pm