11 things that date back to 1982, the year by which Supreme Court says courts should weigh new voting rules

The cast of "Cheers"
Friends, Romans & Accountants” Episode 7 — Pictured: (l-r) Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli, Nicholas Colasanto as Ernie ‘Coach’ Pantusso, Ted Danson as Sam Malone-

  • The Supreme Court recently said that judges should consider voting rules in place in 1982 in certain cases.
  • The Court applied that new “guidepost” to cases under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Here are 11 things that date back to 1982 to show how much time has passed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Classic movies “ET” and “Tootsie.” Staple 80s hit songs “Come On, Eileen,” “Eye of the Tiger,” and “I Love Rock and Roll.” These are all things from 1982, the year that the Supreme Court majority said that courts should take into account when weighing whether voting restrictions violate the Voting Rights Act.

In the case Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the court ruled 6-3 to uphold two Arizona voting laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act – and set five new “guideposts” for how courts should approach Section 2 vote-denial cases that make it harder for litigants to prove voting discrimination in court.

One of the new guideposts for courts to consider is how much a given election law “departs from what was standard practice” when Congress last amended Section 2 in 1982.

Because every voting law imposes some burden, the Court reasoned, “the burdens associated with the rules in widespread use when [Section 2] was adopted are therefore useful in gauging whether the burdens imposed by a challenged rule are sufficient to prevent voting from being equally ‘open’ or furnishing an equal ‘opportunity’ to vote in the sense meant by [Section 2].”

This new condition came somewhat out of left-field, and puzzled legal experts. In 1982, very few states offered voting options commonplace today, including no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, or automatic and same-day registration.

In her scathing dissent, Justice Elena Kagan called the new 1982 standard “the oddest part” of the majority opinion, writing, “Section 2 was meant to disrupt the status quo, not to preserve it-to eradicate then-current discriminatory practices, not to set them in amber.”

Harvard Law professor Nick Stephanopoulos, writing in the Washington Post, called it the “most astonishing extra-textual move” in the entire decision, wondering, “Why on earth would that be?”

Here are 11 things from 1982 to put the amount of time that’s passed since then – and how different the world is – in perspective:

Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller.”

Michael Jackson

The Survivor hit “Eye of the Tiger.”

survivor eye of the tiger

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and wife Princess Diana take home their newborn son Prince William
In this June 22, 1982, file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and wife Princess Diana take home their newborn son Prince William, as they leave St. Mary’s Hospital in London.

The sitcom “Cheers.”

The cast of "Cheers"
Friends, Romans & Accountants” Episode 7 — Pictured: (l-r) Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli, Nicholas Colasanto as Ernie ‘Coach’ Pantusso, Ted Danson as Sam Malone-

The first episode of “Late Night” with David Letterman.

David Letterman at reception in NBC's Studio 6A January 19, 1982
David Letterman at reception in NBC’s Studio 6A January 19, 1982 at the announcement of new NBC comedy show “Late Night With David Letterman”.

“ET: The Extraterrestrial.”

The Extra-Terrestrial and Steven Speilberg poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California
The Extra-Terrestrial and Steven Speilberg poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California

“The Princess Diaries” and “The Devil Wears Prada” actress Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway

Singers Kelly Clarkson and LeAnn Rimes, actresses Jessica Biel and Kirsten Dunst, and Olympic athletes Tara Lipinski and Apolo Anthon Ono were also born in 1982.  

The Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom.

Falkands War Argentina
Falklands residents look at an Argentine armored vehicle, in Port Stanley, April 1982.

The teen comedy film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

fast times at ridgemont high

Science fiction classic “Blade Runner.”

Blade Runner
Directed by Ridley Scott.

Police drama “Cagney and Lacey.”

Actors Sharon Gless (L) and Tyne Daly, both wearing police badges, lean against a police car in a promotional portrait for the television series, 'Cagney & Lacey,' c. 1982.
Actors Sharon Gless (L) and Tyne Daly, both wearing police badges, lean against a police car in a promotional portrait for the television series, ‘Cagney & Lacey,’ c. 1982.

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