ONTD Political

US Supreme Court to hearing voting rights challenge

3:17 pm - 11/10/2012
The US Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a key section of the Voting Rights Act, a law adopted to prevent discrimination at the polls.

It will hear an Alabama challenge to the requirement that states with a history of racial bias seek permission before changes to voting rules.

The move comes shortly after President Barack Obama's re-election.

Latino and African-American voters played a key role in the election, reflecting a shift in US demographics.

Arguments in the case are expected be heard by the Supreme Court in early 2013, with a decision expected by the end of June.

'Jim Crow time-warp'

The Voting Rights Act is seen as a key plank of civil rights era legislation. It was re-authorised in its entirety for 25 years in 2006 on a widely bipartisan vote in both houses of Congress.

The court has heard previous voting rights cases but not ruled directly on the law's constitutionality
The US top court now says it will decide on whether or not Congress exceeded its authority.

The section under review calls for "pre-clearance" - requiring certain states and local governments, mostly in the South, to receive federal approval before making any changes to their voting laws.

Opponents of section five say that the provision is out of date and is an over-reach of federal power.

"The America that elected and re-elected Barack Obama as its first African-American president is far different than when the Voting Rights Act was first enacted in 1965," Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation, which opposes race-based policies and spearheaded the suit, said in a statement.

"Congress unwisely reauthorised a bill that is stuck in a Jim Crow-era time warp,"

But supporters of the law said recent attempted changes to elections around the country, including a raft of new voter ID laws, showed exactly why the measure was still needed.

"Given the extensive voter suppression we've seen around the country, I think Section five's relevance could not be clearer," said Elise Boddie, litigation director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples (NAACP)'s Legal Defense Fund

Backers of the provision say minority voters are less likely to have the types of photo ID needed to comply with the new laws.

A lower appeal court agreed, upholding section five via a 2-1 decision. The court said Congress had enough evidence of recent racial discrimination to justify renewing the law in 2006.

Racial discrimination in voting is "one of the gravest evils that Congress can seek to redress", appeal court judge David Tatel wrote in the majority opinion.

The Supreme Court avoided directly ruling on part of the law's constitutionally in a 2009 case, but suggested that the requirement may no longer be needed.


Just because the nation re-elected a black president doesn't make your state free of racism.
astridmyrna 11th-Nov-2012 05:41 am (UTC)
"Congress unwisely reauthorised a bill that is stuck in a Jim Crow-era time warp,"
Meanwhile, at Ole Miss...

Edited at 2012-11-11 05:42 am (UTC)
moonshaz 11th-Nov-2012 06:09 am (UTC)
The section under review calls for "pre-clearance" - requiring certain states and local governments, mostly in the South, to receive federal approval before making any changes to their voting laws.

In light of all the voter suppression fuckery that was going on in many, many places that are outside the south, it seems kind of pointless to me to continue singling out the south for this kind of restriction. It really should apply to the entire country. If not then...well, what does it accomplish to single out the south while states like OH and PA just go on their merry way doing whatever they damned well please.
ennifer_jay 11th-Nov-2012 06:32 am (UTC)
I am 110% against them losing this law.

I rest my case.

Edited at 2012-11-11 06:33 am (UTC)
homasse 12th-Nov-2012 06:41 am (UTC)
That's...really disturbing. Wow.
rkt 11th-Nov-2012 07:45 am (UTC)
this article also has amazing graphics of the effects of updates to voting rights starting from only white men (image above) to current policies.
fuck_of_nature 11th-Nov-2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Wait, so if only white men voted, Romney would have trampled Obama?

Frightening and sad.
rkt 11th-Nov-2012 04:44 pm (UTC)

he wouldn't have even been able to take new york.

even with Men of Color, he'd still of lost without women of color voting.
omimouse 11th-Nov-2012 08:24 am (UTC)
You're right.

ALL states should be subject to this. Because it was pretty obvious this election cycle that the push to disenfranchise minorities was hardly limited to the former Confederacy.
omimouse 11th-Nov-2012 08:25 am (UTC)
To clarify, I think this needs to be expanded, not done away with or minimized.
martyfan 11th-Nov-2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
The disenfranchisement that they were trying to enact wasn't only racially based as well, and I agree, this should apply to ALL states. (Besides, it's not like there aren't racists in every state anyway.)
aviv_b 11th-Nov-2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
This scares the crap out of me. The current makeup of the supreme court does not bode well for this.

But why worry, its not like anything was done to change laws to disenfranchise minorities this election cycle...oh wait. Or at least there wasn't a problem with lines being way longer in areas where POC live...oh wait.

Yeah, worry.
wrestlingdog 11th-Nov-2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
I won't lie, I'm a little nervous about this. I doubt they'd strike it down, but it still makes me uncomfortable.
tabaqui 11th-Nov-2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
This should be expanded, not repealed. But this particular SC makes me nervous as hell.
mirhanda 11th-Nov-2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
Ugh. My mother never could vote until she and my dad married because she couldn't afford the poll tax. I hope the supremes don't let us go back to that time!
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