Jun 25 2013

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Supreme Court Guts Voting Rights Act In 5-4 Ruling, Ends Civil Rights Era

supreme_court_buildingA return to the old ways? Former Presidential candidate Howard Dean expressed his disapproval of the Court’s decision on FB alongside a bevy of candidates and elected officials. “The Court continues to destroy its own legitimacy as it descends further into politically based decision making. This decision ranks with Dred Scott, Citizens United and Bush v Gore among the most morally bankrupt and non-constitutionally based political decisions in the courts history.”

Sal Albanese, a candidate running for Mayor wrote on his FB, “In light of today’s terrible decision by the Supreme Court, I’m calling on the New York Congressional delegation – regardless of party – to unite behind new legislation that guarantees equal access to the polls for every American.

Mark Levine, a Democrat for a Manhattan based NYC Council Seat is also calling for action. “The Supreme Court’s blow to the Voting Rights Act leaves us no choice–we must push congress to take bold legislative action to protect every American’s right to vote in free and fair elections. Join the movement.

Article below:

[Huffington Post] The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court.

The 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that “things have changed dramatically” in the South in the nearly 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965.

The court’s opinion said it did not strike down the act of Congress “lightly,” and said it “took care to avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act” in a separate case back in 2009. “Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare [Section 4] unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”

The Voting Rights Act has recently been used to block a voter ID law in Texas and delay the implementation of another in South Carolina. Both states are no longer subject to the preclearance requirement because of the court’s ruling on Tuesday.

“Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions,” Roberts wrote.

“There is no doubt that these improvements are in large part because of the Voting Rights Act,” he wrote. “The Act has proved immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process.”



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