Repealing the Voting Rights Act in NAUMUDNO v. Holder and Staying an Execution under Vienna Convention in Leal Garia v. Texas

July 7th, 2011

I think there is an interesting dichotomy between¬†Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder¬†and the Court’s per curiam opinion in Leal Garcia v. Texas (opinion here).

In the former, 8 members of the Court hesitated striking down the Voting Rights Act, avoiding the constitutional issue, opting instead to give Congress more time to fix the (now 40 year old) statute.

In Leal Garcia, 5 members of the Court would *not* give Congress 2 more months to enact enforcement legislation that has already been introduced in one the Senate. Because of this failure to grant a stay, Mr. Leal will (most likely) be executed tonight.

These issues aren’t exactly the same, but they do paint an interesting contrast. Justice Thomas, who votes against waiting in both cases, I suppose, is the principled one here.