Supreme Court Rules On Voting Rights Act The U.S. Supreme Court has reached a decision in a challenge to the landmark Voting Rights Act. In a ruling that explicitly declined to address bigger issues, the Court decided that a key provision of the act was applied too broadly.
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Supreme Court Rules On Voting Rights Act

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Supreme Court Rules On Voting Rights Act


Supreme Court Rules On Voting Rights Act

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.

The Supreme Court ruled today in a civil rights case Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described as perhaps the most important of the term, an opportunity for the court to either uphold or strike down one of the landmark laws of the civil rights era, the Voting Rights Act. But in a decision that explicitly declined to address bigger issues, the high court issued a narrow ruling saying that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act was applied too broadly and made it easier for local governments in 16 states, mostly in the South, to opt out if they can show no pattern of racial discrimination for the past 10 years.

We'll talk, this hour, about what today's decision means, look ahead to another to another important decision due out before the end of the month and get an update on the progress of Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the high court.

Later, Iran on the Opinion Page this week. Joe Klein of Time Magazine covered the presidential campaign, the election, the start of the protests and now the argument here in Washington over President Obama's response to the crackdown. But first, the Supreme Court and the Voting Rights Act.

What effect has this had where you live? Did it - does it make a difference? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, You can also join the conversation on our Web site. That's at Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Joining us here in Studio 3A is David Savage, who covers the Supreme Court for the Los Angeles Times. Always nice to have you on the program, David.

Mr. DAVID SAVAGE (Supreme Court Reporter, Los Angeles Times): Hi, Neal.

CONAN: And this was an opportunity, many in the civil rights movement feared, for the Supreme Court to overturn this vital provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes, absolutely. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is often seen as one of the most effective, most transforming laws of the 20th century because for 100 years after the Civil War, it was illegal and unconstitutional to discriminate against anyone based on race in voting. Nonetheless, throughout the South, most blacks were not registered and did not vote in a whole lot of communities.

States had turned over voting to county registrars. County registrars found all kinds of ways to keep African-Americans from voting. In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, made clear that it was illegal to discriminate against anyone because of race in voting, and also put the South sort of on a type of parole that said any city or state, if you make any changes in your voting rolls, your election districts, anything that affects voting, you've got to clear it with the Justice Department in Washington.

CONAN: Clear it ahead of time.

Mr. SAVAGE: Clear it ahead of time, because they didn't want any more tricks or schemes to deprive people of the right to vote.

Everybody agrees that law was enormously effective. What this dispute was about was, is it time, basically, to step back, take the South off parole and overturn this law as unconstitutional. When this case was argued in April, it sure looked like the five conservatives were inclined to say this law has outlived its usefulness. It's not fair to put the South, today, under this sort of, as I say, parole, this sort of special condition.

CONAN: They hate to impose conditions on some states that don't apply to all of the states.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes, that's right. Anthony Kennedy said well, why is there a different rule for Ohio than Georgia? We know Ohio's got plenty of problems. Florida is not covered by this law. You know, why not Florida and why Alabama?

So it looked like they were going to make a decision that really would have set off quite a clamor, particularly among civil rights people, who thought the Supreme Court had no business - Congress had extended this law in 2006, and the question is why does the Supreme Court need to step in, and you know, this is up to Congress to decide.

Anyway, today they basically backed away and said municipalities that have had a clean record for 10 years, haven't had any problems, can apply to bail out of the law, and therefore, they won't have to go through this pre-clearance provision. That's a small decision, it narrows the law, but it's not a big deal.

CONAN: It also got a unanimous decision.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes. All of them could agree on that. Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion saying he would have gone further and struck down the entire Section 5 as unconstitutional.

CONAN: And isn't this sort of an exemplar of the Roberts Court, looking for an opportunity for consensus on a narrow ruling rather than bucking, you know, going for the five-to-four decision on a big change?

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes, it is, that part of John Roberts. But we've had a few others. About two years ago, I know you and I talked about, on a five-to-four decision, they basically said voluntary school integration plans are unconstitutional if students are assigned by race. That was a pretty big decision. So yes, sometimes John Roberts has searched for the narrow, unanimous decision but not always.

CONAN: And let me also ask, the case that they decided this on seemed to be, well, perfect for the people who wanted to overturn the Voting Rights Act, and that was a case brought against a - brought by a municipality, well even a sub-municipality, that didn't exist when the law was passed, didn't exist even 10 years ago, and they'd never had any record of racial discrimination, and so this seemed like the perfect opportunity for the court to say, look like this is too broadly applied and its time has passed.

Mr. SAVAGE: Well, perfect in one sense, Neal, perfect in the sense that you could ask why does the law apply to this little water district? They don't even register voters. But I didn't think it was perfect for arguing the whole law is unconstitutional because what does that little water district have to do with Georgia and Alabama writ large?

It was a very good argument for saying you ought to narrow the law. I didn't think they had a very good argument for saying why the law is clearly outdated and needs to be overturned.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get a caller on the line, 800-989-8255. Email is Holly's on the line calling from Wilmington, North Carolina.

HOLLY (Caller): Hey, I love your show.

CONAN: Thank you.

HOLLY: I'm a nervous caller. I'm not good at public speaking, but I just want to share an experience I had, that I had gone to work for a Get Out the Vote Campaign that they had given us a list of people in a precinct to call and encourage them to get out to vote, and it had the person's name, the year they were born, their party affiliation, and it had the year they registered to vote.

And so I had gotten this precinct, this printout in the old dot-matrix printout style that had the names of people, and it was a predominantly African-American precinct, and I couldn't believe that no matter what year these people were born, their date of registering to vote was 1968, which was the first presidential election after the passing of the Voting Rights Act.

And so I, being a - I was 20-something when I had this, it opened my eyes that I had not really honestly thought about whether - why didn't these people, who were predominantly African-American, no matter - I mean, they were in their 40s and 50s by the time 1968 rolled around, and they were just getting around to registering to vote. And I really did have this moment of realizing that that had to have been the effect of the Voting Rights Act, that somehow something changed that made them feel more comfortable, maybe as obviously as made it legal.

I don't know exactly, but there's obviously, in my experience, an incidence of seeing so many people of different ages, and the only commonality was that they were African-American, and they did not bother to register to vote until 1968.

CONAN: Or were unable, David, to register. As you say, an awful lot of tricks were employed to prevent African-Americans from registering to vote.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes, literacy tests, poll taxes, changing the place of registration, limiting the hours. That's why this law had this pre-clearance provision, because they couldn't even say exactly what cities and counties were doing to prevent African-Americans from voting, because there were all kinds of schemes and devices, and that's what this law was about.

CONAN: And as noted in Chief Justice Roberts' opinion today, the rate of registration in most of these places is par or near-par, no matter what ethnic group or what color the skin, and of course, African-Americans have achieved unparalleled levels of governmental success. Holly, thanks very much. We appreciate the phone call.

If you've got an example of how the Voting Rights Act worked or didn't work where you live, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email is

Joining us now from Austin, Texas is Chris Ward, one of the attorneys for the Northwest Austin Municipal District Number One, the plaintiff in this case, and it's nice to have you back on the program.

Mr. CHRIS WARD (Attorney for Northwest Austin Municipal District Number One): Nice to be back, Neal, thank you.

CONAN: And I assume you're pleased with this decision.

Mr. WARD: We are. We are very pleased. This was the first thing that we asked for in this case, was simply to let the district take advantage of this bailout process, and we always said, you know, the court need not reach the constitutional issue if you will let our client out.

CONAN: And with this document in your hand, I assume you can go to federal court and say can we please opt out.

Mr. WARD: That will be the next step. We go back to the lower court, which ruled against us the first time, and say the Supreme Court said you're wrong about that. Now please let us out.

CONAN: And that should be pretty pro forma. They'll say Justice Roberts says it's okay, it's okay. I wonder, though, are you concerned that the court did not go further to address the constitutional issue and overturn Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act?

Mr. WARD: Well, I take a little quibble with what I think David said a minute ago that this is not a big deal, because there are literally thousands of jurisdictions similar to our district that are covered, even though they either have no history of discrimination or, if they had a history, it's more than 10 years in the past, and so this opens the way for these jurisdictions to go into court one by one and narrow the scope of Section 5.

CONAN: So you do see this as an issue that will affect many areas across the country.

Mr. WARD: We do, Neal, and this is what Congress envisioned in 1982 when it put this bailout provision in place. And Congress basically said we expect - Congress expected by now a majority of jurisdictions to just fall away from Section 5 because already by 1982, they were starting to think that the statute had sort of run its course. And now that can happen.

CONAN: And as Chief Justice Roberts said in his majority opinion, these instances of blatant discrimination are now rare.

Mr. WARD: They are rare, and very importantly, any jurisdiction that gets bailout has to go to a court of law in Washington, D.C., and put on evidence that they have a clean record.

So you know, anyone who gets bailed out, it's not just on their own say-so, it's a court judgment that they show they have a clean record, and they are not one of the rare instances of continued discrimination.

CONAN: Chris Ward, congratulations.

Mr. WARD: Thank you very much, Neal.

CONAN: Chris Ward, one of the attorneys for the Northwest Austin Municipal District Number One. They were the plaintiffs in today's Supreme Court ruling on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, speaking to us today from Austin, Texas.

When we come back after a short break, we're going to talk with Ryan Haygood, co-director of the Political Participation Group of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and talk more with David Savage, also go on to talk about the New Haven firefighters case. A decision is expected on that before the end of the month, and we'll also talk about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Today's Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act could mean more local governments covered under the law can now seek exemptions.

If you're just joining us, the court today side-stepped the bigger question of whether or not the law is necessary any longer. In this case, the justices ruled that the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One in Austin may apply to opt out of the Voting Rights Act's advance-approval requirement.

So what effect has this law has this law had where you live? Did it, does it make a difference? 800-989-8255. Email us, You can also join the conversation on our Web site. That's at Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

David Savage is with us, Supreme Court reporter at the Los Angeles Times. In a few minutes, we're going to go on to talk about the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. If you've got a question that you'd like the Senate to ask her when her hearings come up in July, give us a call on that, too. Again, the number, 800-989-8255. Email

Joining us now from New York is Ryan Haygood. He's co-director of the Political Participation Group for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. They filed an amicus brief, a friend of the court document defending the Voting Rights Act, and it's nice to have you on the program today.

Mr. RYAN HAYGOOD (Co-director, Political Participation Group NAACP Legal Defense Fund): Thanks for having me, appreciate your time.

CONAN: And your reaction to today's ruling?

Mr. HAYGOOD: Sure. You know, we at LDF, we were a party in the case and actually argued the case on behalf of interveners who entered on the side of the United States, and we viewed this case really as an attempt to tear out the heart of the Voting Rights Act, and the plaintiffs have failed in that effort, and as we speak, Section 5 is protecting minority voters in covered jurisdictions from racial discrimination.

Mr. Ward and his colleagues sought with all of their might to strip minorities of that very essential protection of minority voting rights, and we are today recognizing the Supreme Court left intact the core of the Voting Rights Act, which is Section 5.

CONAN: Yet as Chris Ward noted just a moment ago, his municipality and every other one covered under the Voting Rights Act can now go to a federal court and say can we please opt out? We have no record of discrimination over the past 10 years.

Mr. HAYGOOD: That's right, and the Supreme Court made clear by expanding those jurisdictions eligible for bailout that if they meet the requirements of bailout, they can seek bailout in a federal court.

CONAN: Isn't that the same that one by one by one, these local governments will be exempted from the Voting Rights act as opposed to a sweeping change of everybody all at once?

Mr. HAYGOOD: That's right, and the onus is on the states, is on the jurisdictions, to show that they have not discriminated in the last 10 years. That's what we mean we mean by the clean bill of health that they've submitted all their voting changes for pre-approval or pre-clearance and that they've made known their efforts to seek bailout.

CONAN: But the practical difference doesn't seem to be large.

Mr. HAYGOOD: Well, the practical difference here is that it was presumed that only jurisdictions that conducted voter registration before this ruling were eligible for bailout. The Supreme Court expanded those jurisdictions to find even those that don't conduct voter registration can seek bailout if they meet the statutory requirements.

CONAN: David?

Mr. SAVAGE: I think one practical issue, Neal, is that this doesn't appear to affect states. They talked about political subdivisions of the states, municipalities. A lot of the Section 5 litigation involves states like Georgia or Alabama or Louisiana, either changing its voting - for example voter ID laws or sometimes the makeup of the state legislature. Those are statewide issues, and the states are still subject to Section 5.

They can't, as I read the decision, they can't opt out, and so that's a very important practical - had they struck down the law, all the states would have been out, too.

Mr. HAYGOOD: That's right.

CONAN: And Ryan Haygood, those voter ID laws are a very big issue for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Mr. HAYGOOD: They are, and they seem to crop up in many, many places where Section 5 is called upon to protect the voting rights of minority citizens there, as well.

You know, Georgia raises an interesting example in that the governor, Sonny Purdue of Georgia, filed an amicus brief on the side of the municipal utility district in this action arguing that Section 5 had outlived its usefulness. And it's noteworthy to point out that after oral argument in this case, the state of Georgia drew an objection for trying to push through voter registration requirements that they had not sought pre-clearance for, and after they did seek pre-clearance, the DOJ denied that request, finding that those voter registration requirements would be discriminatory as applied to black citizens.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get another caller on the line. This is Sabrina(ph), Sabrina with us from, well as it happens, Augusta, Georgia.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SABRINA (Caller): Hi, thanks for taking my call. My father is African-American, and he was born in 1955, and even when he was able to register to vote, he didn't, and in fact he didn't until last year, when he was able to vote for Barack Obama. And I think it really was the culture. He was born in the Deep South, like south, south Georgia. And I really think it was a culture of fear and a culture of discrimination that kept him from voting, and I think with laws like this, it would open the doors for so many people that had to live under that kind of fear and discrimination. And I'm really proud of my father because, you know, he got over that fear of discrimination and actually did vote, so...

CONAN: And some people, Sabrina, would say well, we've got - it goes to show you. African-American elected president of the United States, by states including North Carolina and Florida and places in the Deep South.

SABRINA: That's true, but even in the Deep South, here in Georgia, we tried really hard. But obviously there are some counties that are Democratic and some that are Republican. So it's kind of like we're trying really hard, but even the inroads we are making, as African-Americans or as Democrats, whatever, but mostly as African-Americans, aren't really - if this law were to be struck down, it would be like taking two more steps back.

CONAN: Sabrina, thanks very much for the call, appreciate it.

SABRINA: Thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye.

SABRINA: Bye-bye.

CONAN: And let's see if we can go to Susan, and Susan's calling us from Ann Arbor.

SUSAN (Caller) Yes, hello.

CONAN: Hi, Susan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

SUSAN: Thank you. I'm wonder what are any laws available to cover things like not enough voting machines in certain precinct, taking names off the list of registered voters for frivolous, perhaps, reasons, etcetera.

CONAN: I don't know. Ryan Haygood, can you help us out on that?

Mr. HAYGOOD: Sure. Section 5 applies to all voting changes in covered jurisdictions that range from moving a polling place to changing voter registration requirements to redistricting plans. So Section 5 would reach any change that was in effect before one sought to make a change, and it would have to be submitted to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance or to a federal court, three-judge federal court in Washington, D.C.

CONAN: But it would not cover Michigan or Ohio.

SUSAN: I'm thinking about changes that happen on voting day.

Mr. HAYGOOD: Sure. Section 5 applies to 16 - all or part of 16 jurisdictions. So Section 5 is only enforced in those covered jurisdictions. And those were at issue here in this case, that arose out of a small utility district in Austin, Texas.

CONAN: And David Savage, are there other laws to cover what Susan's talking about, federal laws?

Mr. SAVAGE: I don't think so. There's a Help America Vote Act that had some provisions on that, but I sort of forget. I know that was a law that was intended to help the states get better voting machines, but I don't know that there's anywhere you can sue - Ryan may know - under that act, but if you have the problem in Michigan or Ohio, what do you do if there's a shortage of voting machines in a particular precinct?

SUSAN: I have no clue, and it's very disturbing that the same tricks, the same types of tricks, at least with the same results, similar results, can occur on voting day or even in a count.

Mr. SAVAGE: You certainly could bring a suit under a part of the Voting Rights Act, if you could have some evidence that, for example, only in the minority precincts was there a shortage of - if you could say that the problem was due to, or appeared to be due to, racial discrimination, then you can bring a suit under the Voting Rights Act, but unfortunately, that's sort of after the fact. You'd be doing it too late to help out on...

CONAN: To affect the result on Election Day.

Mr. HAYGOOD: That's right.

SUSAN: That was my thought, as well. Thank you so much.

CONAN: Thanks. Interesting question, Susan. Appreciate it.

Mr. HAYGOOD: You know, one thing that occurred to me about the opinion today is that Justice Roberts talks at great length about some of the progress that's been made in the covered jurisdictions, and Congress recognized that as well, when it determined whether it should reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006, and it did, as Justice Roberts noted, recognize the considerable progress that's been made in these covered jurisdictions. But at the same time, Congress recognized that we hadn't yet reached the place where we could say that we had reached racial equality, and I think part of the progress that's been made in these covered jurisdictions is attributable to the way that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act has worked and that it succeeded in some areas.

And we see this where African-Americans, in some states, reached parity in terms of their political representation and political participation in terms of their registration. But I think Congress' intuition was right, and the record reveals, the record being almost 17,000 pages, that we've not yet reached a place where Section 5 has outlived its usefulness. And that's why today's ruling is so significant because the core provision of the Voting Rights Act, that is Section 5, stays in force.

CONAN: Ryan Haygood, thanks very much for your time today, appreciate it.

Mr. HAYGOOD: Thanks for having me.

CONAN: Ryan Haygood, co-director of the Political Participation Group for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He joined us today from our bureau in New York.

Now as confirmation hearings on Judge Sonia Sotomayor approach next month, what questions do you have for Judge Sotomayor? 800-989-8255. Email us:

David, before we get to that, though, there is one other big case expected to be decided by the Supreme Court before the end of this month, either this coming Thursday or a week from today, and that involves New Haven firefighters. Give us a thumbnail sketch of that case, if you would.

Mr. SAVAGE: This has a little similarity to what we were just talking about because part of the civil - this concerns parts of the Civil Rights Act from 1964 and then what Congress amended a few years later.

In this case, the New Haven government had a promotional test for firefighters. A lot of firefighters took the test. It turned out that the top scorers were almost all white. There was something like 15 promotional opportunities available. And when the scores came in, 100 and some people took the test, it looked like the test would only go to white - the promotions would only go to white firefighters.

CONAN: I think one Hispanic as well.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes, that's correct. There's a part of the civil rights law that says employers cannot use any job standard or promotional test that has a disparate impact on minorities unless they can prove it was a business necessity. This was a sort of legacy of the late 1960s, where some employers -in a famous case involving Duke Power in North Carolina - after they were told they couldn't discriminate against black employees, they set new standards, like to be a janitor, you had to have a high school diploma.

And it was assumed that the only reason they did that was to prevent blacks from getting those jobs. So the court had always had this view - the law has this view, you can't have any test or standard that has a disparate impact on minorities.

The city of New Haven said we're not going to go forward with these promotions because this test has a disparate impact on African-Americans, none of them are going to get promoted. And we'd have a hard time proving that a paper and pencil test is the only way to decide who should be a lieutenant or captain in the fire department. So they backed away. The white and Hispanic firefighters sued and now the Supreme Court's got to work out a conflict in the civil rights law.

One part of the law says don't discriminate against anybody because of their race. The white firefighters say we were discriminated against. The other side of the law says you, employer, don't employ any standards that's going to have a disparate impact on minorities. And that's what New Haven was.

CONAN: And interestingly, the decision of New Haven, the city of New Haven was upheld all the way through the level right below the Supreme Court, the appellate court division, in a decision that was agreed to by Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes. And so, that's put a new whole new level of attention to this case because she joined a three-judge opinion that basically sided with New Haven and said they acted reasonably in this situation.

CONAN: David Savage of the Los Angeles Times. He covers the Supreme Court.

You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And now, on to the conversation continuing here in Washington, D.C., over the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Supreme Court justice. She has been going around, visiting with members of the United States Senate and especially those on the Judiciary Committee, even though she has had her broken ankle to give her some problems. She appears to be very energetically going about her business and saying absolutely nothing to the media, which is the prescribed course of action for nominees.

Mr. SAVAGE: She also had the benefit of, on the one hand, having a long judicial record and very few controversial opinions. She did not have any decisions on abortion, gay rights, religion.

I thought the one way to have a really big confirmation fight this summer, had Barack Obama picked a judge who had some controversial decisions on abortion, religion, gay rights, that would have set off one of these culture war battles in the Senate.

Sonia Sotomayor has a lot of experience. She's been a prosecutor. She's been a corporate attorney. She's been a district judge. She's been an appellate court judge. You can't do better than that for experience. And she has very few controversial opinions in her past. So she seems to be in very good shape heading into the hearings.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get some callers in on this conversation. What questions do you want to hear put to Judge Sonia Sotomayor? And we'll start with Phil(ph). Phil in Cincinnati.

PHIL (Caller): How are you doing, Neal?

CONAN: Good.

PHIL: My question would be, I'm interested if people are going to ask Judge Sotomayor her stance on affirmative action, especially considering her comments about being a wise Latina woman. And, obviously, you know, that might have some impact on the discussion.

CONAN: David Savage, I would be surprised if she was not asked that.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes. I would - I think you could put a lot of money on, that would be a very good bet. Because the one issue that has been most controversial is, as you alluded to, she made a speech where she talked about I think a wise Latina would more often than not make a better decision than a white male. In part of that talk, she seems to be saying that my experience or anyone's experience brings a sort of richness and perspective to the court, that that's a good thing. You could read that another way, where she seemed to be saying, I've got some sort of superior ability or superior knowledge because I'm a Latina or I'm a woman.

And so, certainly, there's going to be, I think, a lot of - particularly Republican senators, asking her, are you going to - is race going to figure in your decisions? And do you think it's okay for the government or courts to give more than equal consideration for minorities because of their race or ethnicity? So the short answer is yes.

CONAN: It'll come up. Phil, thanks very much.

PHIL: Thank you.

CONAN: And we're going to be doing a lot more of this as the nomination approaches. But here's an email we have from Sonia - or on Sonia from Christopher(ph) - excuse me - in Kansas City.

Given that so much of her personal identity seems to be tied to her ethnicity, I would like one of the senators to ask her how she would rule on issues related to illegal immigration. And again, that's likely to come up.

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes. I would sure think so. I don't know that she's had any - she hasn't had any controversial opinions in that area. So it would be trying to get her to talk about her views on the matter.

CONAN: The other issues where she - in places especially where she does not have a record like abortion, for example, she is likely to be evasive, don't you think?

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes. I would guess on abortion, she would say something like, I can stand by precedent, which means, you know, I'm not going to overturn Roe versus Wade. She's got such a light record that some of the pro-choice groups are a little bit ill at ease because they know the real fights down the road are going to be regulatory. It's not going to be a matter of overturning Roe versus Wade. But think of partial birth abortion fight a couple of years ago, how far can states regulate abortion in a way that restricts abortion?

And even though most people think there's only two possibilities - pro-choice, pro-life - there's a lot of justices in - a little bit in the middle on those regulatory questions.

CONAN: David Savage of the Los Angeles Times will be back with us to discuss the New Haven case when it is decided. And I suspect we may be talking about - more about Judge Sonia Sotomayor as well.

David, thanks as always for being with us.

Mr. SAVAGE: Good to be with you, Neal.

CONAN: Coming up on the Opinion Page, Joe Klein reported on the Iranian elections and the immediate aftermath. He argues Iranians don't want help from the United States. He joins us next. Stay with us.

I'm Neal Conan. TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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