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Abstract

Most Supreme Court-watchers find the decision in LULAC v. Perry notable for the ground it breaks concerning Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the ground it refuses to break on the topic of partisan gerrymandering. I tend to think the Court’s patchwork application of Section 2 to strike down a district on vote dilution grounds is not all that dramatic, nor is its resolution of the partisan gerrymandering claims all that surprising. The truly unprecedented development in the case for me was Justice Scalia’s vote to uphold what he considered a racial classification under the Equal Protection Clause, but one that survived strict scrutiny. This essay tries to explain why his opinion is important, both in its own right and with respect to its implications for how he might consider the upcoming challenges to the newly reauthorized Voting Rights Act.