But even if the Supreme Court opts not to deal with Section 5 in its ruling, it might not be able to stay away from it for too long. There are several cases directly related to Section 5 working their way through appeals that election law experts say will most likely be heard by the Supreme Court this year.
In Arizona, for example, officials sued the Justice Department directly over the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. And in South Carolina, officials are preparing to appeal the Justice Department’s decision not to preclear the state’s new voter identification law.
“It’s pretty momentous,” said Michael Li, a Texas-based Democratic election law attorney. “There’s been some big cases over the years, but they’re usually spread out over the years.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.