On Monday, the Supreme Court will announce some opinions, one of which could be Shelby County v. Holder, the case questioning whether the Voting Rights Act is constitutional.

This is not a case that I paid great attention to, until I enrolled in a Supreme Court decisionmaking class at my law school. In class I sat as  Chief Justice Roberts and listened as my classmates argued the issues in Shelby County. And then, I was assigned the majority opinion to write as the Chief would.

After considering the arguments and what the Chief said in Northwest Austin, I am convinced that Rick Hasen, over at the Election Law Blog, is absolutely correct as to the outcome of this case. In the opinion I wrote to strike down the VRA’s coverage formula.

What’s interesting, at least to me, is that I started the case a believer in the VRA and that we still need it. And I still believe that. But what did change is my belief about the constitutionality of Section 4(b)’s coverage formula. After the Court strikes down the VRA, I bet that many will proclaim it a result-oriented decision by a conservative Court. What many supporters of the VRA will not say is that using a coverage formula from the 1970s to determine, today, the states requiring preclearance is a bad argument. Indeed, I don’t think that striking down the coverage formula is a reach for the Court.

In addition to striking down the coverage formula (which will, unfortunately, be the end of the preclearance regime because Congress is unlikely to pass a new VRA coverage formula), I also think the Court will decide that the City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), congruence and proportionality standard applies to the Fifteenth Amendment, the same as it applies to the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court could probably avoid deciding that subsidiary issue, but I believe the Chief wants to clarify the law for lower courts on this point (because it could say that the coverage formula is unconstitutional under either standard) and, in any event, the difference between the City of Boerne standard and the South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301 (1966), rational basis standard are essentially one and the same.

So, the VRA has a death sentence and the execution will likely take place sometime in the next two weeks.