In our American system of government, judges are expected to discover what a statute is meant to say, and whether its enactment was authorized, and then to decide disputes accordingly.
Judges, even those of the U.S. Supreme Court, are not entitled to decide what the statute should have said. That is the job of legislators. The Constitution of the United States, in its very first Section, provides that, "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
Justice Anton Scalia is unpersuaded. He and his fellow justices are hearing arguments in a lawsuit about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (reauthorized four times since that year, most recently in 2006 after assembly of thousands of pages of evidence).
Elections generally are
managed locally, under state authority. However, Section 5 of the act prohibits nine states and assorted other jurisdictions, designated as having had a propensity toward discriminatory rules limiting their citizens' right to vote, from instituting election rules different from those then in effect unless federally "pre-cleared".
"This (Act) is not", declared Scalia during the lawsuit hearing, "the kind of question you can leave to Congress." To some, that sounded an awful lot like legislating from the bench -- contrary to the Constitution's limit, which assigns legislative powers only to Congress.
Jack L. Norman