The Court’s decision to avoid addressing the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act is interesting for two reasons. First, the opinion fits within the “generational cycle” that I discussed last week in the sense that the Justices usually tread carefully in the initial stages of a turnover from one constitutional order (the Reagan Revolution) to another (the Obama whatever you call it). When Chief Justice Marshall first confronted Jacksonian Democracy in Cherokee Nation, the Court expressed its doubts about the legality of what was going on but dismissed the case for want of jurisdiction. A year later, of course, the Court came up with something much stronger in Worcester v. Georgia. During the 1890s, the Justices started their resistance to Populism with a statutory case (E.C. Knight) that avoided the constitutional issue under the Commerce Clause. Not long after that, the Court got much more aggressive. Thus, one cannot say that this decision (or the decision to allow the Chrysler sale to go ahead) means that the Justices will keep their powder dry for long.