What did the Supreme Court just do to the Voting Rights Act?

Posted June 25th, 2013 by
Category: Living consequences Tags: , ,

In 2006, the U.S. Congress voted 98-0 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another quarter-century.

This re-authorization included Section 5, which requires certain states (or parts of states)  to seek federal approval, in advance, for any changes to their voting procedures (known as “preclearance”). It also included Section 4, which provides the “coverage formula” defining which states (or parts of states) are subject to preclearance, based upon their historic use of voting procedures to discriminate against black voters.

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that the coverage formula is no longer unconstitutional constitutional. The majority opinion found that the formula was justified in 1966, by the “‘blight of racial discrimination in voting’ that had ‘infected the electoral process in parts of our country for nearly a century.'” Today, however, a majority of the justices agreed that “Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically.”

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