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Key Part of Voting Rights Act Stricken Down by Supreme Court
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Today the Supreme Court struck down a part of the historically significant Voting Rights act. According to, Justice Roberts commented that the law was decades old and its logic determined by eradicated practices. The court’s opinion was that times change and the law must evolve with the times. The 5-4 decision was that the Voting Rights Act wasn’t in concordance with our current society’s needs. The split decision of the court saw that modern times require a modern law. Chief Justice John Roberts stated that “Things have changed in the South, blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare.”

The part of the law that was stricken was a map that determines which states must attain federal permission before changing voting laws. According to NBCpolitics, “four years ago, the court issued a decision that narrowly rejected a challenge to the permission requirement and it had doubts about whether at least parts of the Voting Rights Act were constitutional.”


The historical Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965 by Pres. Johnson and renewed throughout the years, however the act was written at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, a very different time in this nation’s history. For some time now the Supreme Court felt that this law needed to be adjusted and redefined.

But the dimensions of this concern are large. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion. The court was absolutely split on this topic. Justice Ginsburg thought it was the responsibility of the Legislature to act. She also felt that the demolition of the Voting Rights Act was a huge setback. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who was with President Johnson at the signing of the law, commented “I think what the court did today is stab the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in its very heart.” Sentiment is high, as the history of those times were violent, volatile, and fresh in the memory of the legislators.

Census data demonstrates that the ethnological and racial profiles of the areas originally covered by the law have changed and that the states need dynamic legislative power to assess their own region’s needs. For example, some areas in rural Alabama were primarily white at the time of the law’s creation. Currently black voter registration in the region outnumbers white voter registration by 5:1. So clearly the states need the ability to process, manage and administrate without archaic laws holding them back from their optimization.

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NBCpolitics reports that the white and black voter registration rates in some regions are at 74 and 73 percent comparatively.

The voting integration is nearly complete and the scars of the civil rights movement have clearly begun healing, at least in this sense.

According to NBCNews Supreme Court analyst Tom Goldstein, “This is probably the death knell of this provision.” This was a 5-4 ruling and the decision leaves the future of the Voting Rights Act uncertain, as now the burden and responsibility will fall to Congress to manage.

Considering how Congress (mis)managed the fiscal cliff and the resulting sequester, it is completely understandable if many are not moved with overwhelming confidence at the new situation.


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