The Supreme Court will hear a challenge today that goes to the heart of the Voting Rights Act. This landmark piece of legislation was enacted in 1965 to prevent racial discrimination at the polls. The section of the law at the center of the case requires some states, primarily those in the South, to get federal approval before they can change any of their voting procedures. The changes that require approval from the Justice Department can be as big as a redistricting plan or as small as moving a polling place to a new location. A Texas community got approval for a move, but still decided to take their case to the Supreme Court.
When the U.S. Supreme Court hears the case today, it will be deciding the fate of a hard-fought piece of civil rights legislation. But now that we have an African American president, some say we no longer need the protections afforded by this act. Is the need to protect minorities at the polls outdated? The Takeaway talks to Ted Shaw. He’s a professor at Columbia University Law School and Of Counsel to the law firm of Fulbright and Jaworksi.