Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Voting Rights Act

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court (Justin DC/flickr)

The Supreme Court hears arguments today in what could be a landmark Supreme Court ruling regarding the state of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The act, first signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, was a major piece of civil rights legislation aiming to reverse a practice that long disenfranchised black Americans.

Today a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is being challenged. It's known as Section 5, and it requires certain states and jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to have all changes in voting laws and requirements approved by the Justice Department or by a federal court in Washington, D.C.

The Justice Department calls Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act one of the "most consequential, and amply-justified exercises of federal power in the nation's history."

In an argument against Section 5, Shelby County, Alabama makes the case that the South no longer discriminates and should not need to seek oversight when amending their voting laws.

In 2006 the federal government extended the Section 5 provision for twenty more years.

John Neiman is the solicitor general for Alabama. He co-authored an amicus brief in support of Shelby County in Shelby County v. Holder, but he is not representing the county before the court today. He wants to see Section 5 struck down by the court because he believes it's no longer relevant.


John Neiman

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [4]

All the republicans crapping about Voting Rights Act (VRA) on this board and the likes of you in the REPUBLICAN House should move aside in 2014 because the REPUBLICANS are the crux of the problem. President Obama won the elections of 2008 AND 2012 fair and square but the REPUBLICANS are not allowing him to govern though their rule of RECORD number of filibusters in the Senate and the HOUSE of REPUBLICANS has achieved nothing since it came to power in 2010. In 2014 its the REPUBLICAN's time to go and let OBAMA our democratically elected PRESIDENT rule the country and leave a legacy behind like the achievements of the 2008-2010 years when DEMOCRATS had the House Senate and the Presidency. We want the obstructionist REPUBLICANS out of the way in 2014. We want our House and Senate back in the DEMOCRATIC hands so we can govern and achieve something. All these doomsday deadlines that REPUBLICANS keep pushing on the country will haunt them in 2014!! Mark my words. March 1st 2013. Vote Democratic always!

Mar. 02 2013 03:52 AM
Ajay Jain from Garland, TX, USA

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) must be upheld by the supreme court: Discrimination is alive today unfortunately; Liberty and justice for all is openly sabotaged and the Supreme Court is inviting trouble of great magnitudnal proportions if it dares to fail its ultimate mandate: to uphold everyone's constitutional rights. The entire nation will speak against it because the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is not about political parties; the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is about individual rights protection. Bank on it! it is time to review; the Supreme Court's "entitlements" as, it is no longer acting as an unbiased institution and that, your magistrates , can be amended. get up and do your job or we will make it happen! count on it! Now Even if you are dumb enough to believe that all is OK with the world and there are no reasons to have the voting rights law on the books. Then why are the the parties at opposite end's on this ? Why are the Republicans in America trying to keep people from the poles ? Well I will tell you what I think. I think there may be a dozen or two, man and women in America that have the means to buy the power it wants to call all shots in this Country. The only way they can obtain this right now is get the people they went in office. To buy them so to say. But they know they can be stopped at the voting polls.They know the more that get out and vote there chances are reduced substantially. George Will knows this and should be ashamed. He say 47 years old. Is that old ? I don't think so. Look at the constitution, at that II Amendment a lot older right. SS, Medicare, still very new in the big picture. But look at who wants to change them. Not working men and women, no the big bosses. They do not like to mach payments that is what this is all about. They did not like it back in the 1930s and they do not like it now. So Americans do not be fooled and all of you older people that now have this little benefit fight like h--- to keep it just as it is. It just might be all there is between eating and striving !!

Mar. 02 2013 03:48 AM
Imacitizen from Brppklyn

Why are so many Americans willing to accept antonin scalia's ranting on the Voting Rights act.
Why is voting considered a "RACIAL ENTITLEMENt" when afforded to African-Americans, but is a "CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT" given White Americans and other facsimiles there of?
Sad to say, but oh so true, antonin scalia is the perfect poster boy for Abortion Rights!

"Amendment XV (1870)
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Mar. 01 2013 02:35 AM

In the 1960's Alabama was wholly controlled by the Democratic Party political machine with no political diversity.
While focusing exclusively on race and region when discussing this history, perhaps control of an entire society by one political force was the root of the injustice.
While looking back over fifty years ago in Alabama, what regional pockets exist today with the Democratic Party political machine where "absolute power corrupts absolutely" and what injustices exist there and what is the media doing about it?
If the answer is little or nothing then that explains why the segregationist Democratic Party was allowed to get away with their corruption for so long.

Feb. 27 2013 10:03 AM

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