Only two cases remain from the February sitting, one of them among the most important of the term: the continued viability of a key section of the Voting Rights Act. The case concerns Section 5, which requires federal approval of any voting law change in certain states and jurisdictions that Congress found had discriminated in the past.
The bad news for those who say the law is still vitally necessary: Only Roberts and Scalia have not written an opinion from that sitting. Both were sharply critical of the law during oral arguments, and Roberts warned in a previous case that Section 5 may no longer meet constitutional muster.
From the March sitting came the court’s marquee cases of the term — the two involving same-sex marriage — as well as a voting-rights challenge to an Arizona law. All four of the court’s liberals have written opinions in noncontroversial cases from that sitting; only Thomas among the conservatives has authored an opinion from then.
Of course, it doesn’t require a scorecard to know that Kennedy probably holds the key to the use of affirmative action in higher-education admissions. (The bigger question is what’s taking so long: The court has decided 46 cases argued after Fisher v. University of Texas.)