Supreme Court strikes down Section 4(b) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional, arguing that making several states and counties pre-clear electoral law changes with the federal government made sense in 1965, but that the specific discriminatory conditions 4(b) addresses have improved in those areas such that 4(b) places a burden on those areas today. The best I can say for the majority opinion is that it reads 4(b) very, very narrowly; the worst I can say for the dissent is that it takes eight pages to start winning the argument. The decision does open the door for Congress to pass a revamped 4(b), though I won't hold my breath.
Senate Agriculture Committee narrowly passes Begich/Murkowski GMO salmon labeling amendment to agricultural appropriations bill. Since the ag-approp bill is a must-pass, and the amendment passed with more than one Republican's support (Ms. Collins and Mr. Kirk also voted yea), GMO salmon labeling will likely pass the entire Senate -- though if the House passes a different bill, the amendment could be conferenced out. Still, good news.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit again rules in favor of an obscure firm named Ultramercial which claims to have patented the idea of running web ads instead of charging website visitors for content. Now Ultramercial gets to file frivolous lawsuits against anyone else who might have this absurdly common idea, just as our Founders intended. Next up: I patent breathing, and sue everyone!
ProPublica's Nikole Hanna-Jones explains why class-based affirmative action may not be the sword that slices the Gourdian knot of American ambivalence over race-based affirmative action. Long story short: poor white kids generally don't get sequestered in bad neighborhoods and bad schools, and white/Asian kids account for more than four out of five poor kids who do well in school, suggesting that class-based affirmative action won't be de facto race-based as often as I'd have presumed.