The 5-4 decision struck down a central part of the Voting Rights Act, which required certain states — most of them in the South — to get federal approval before changing their voting laws.
Roberts left intact Congress's powers to monitor elections to ensure fairness, but emphasized that lawmakers would have to pass new legislation to determine which states, if any, require the federal monitoring based on current data.
“Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions,” Roberts wrote.
Hoyer lamented the split decision, saying it represents yet another “reflection of the divisions that exist in the Supreme Court.”
“It is very unfortunate in my view that opinions of this nature continue to be divided clearly along lines of ideology,” he said.
“It seems to me that if the conservatives were on the other side of this question, they would clearly say this is a demonstration of an activist court that wants to substitute its judgment for the judgment of Congress.”