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What Will Court Decisions Mean to Voting Rights Act in Peril?

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 10:56 AM
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What Will Court Decisions Mean to Voting Rights Act in Peril?
What Will Court Decisions Mean to Voting Rights Act in Peril?
By Tracie Powell, CQ Staff

Some contend that the 1965 Voting Rights Act has outlived its usefulness, and hold up President Obama as proof-positive that times have changed.

But have they changed enough?

In April, the Supreme Court is slated to decide whether part of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. It is conceivable that the high court could strike down Section 5 of the law, which requires states and other jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination to pre-clear any changes in voting rules with the U.S. Justice Department to ensure the changes cannot hurt minorities.

Those of us who have been involved in the voting rights struggle have always viewed the Voting Rights Act as a temporary transitional remedy, said Rep. Melvin Watt , D-N.C., who helped push through the acts reauthorization three years ago.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struggled with the issue of race for years, and the countrys changing demographics isnt making the task any easier.

When the court debated the midterm Texas redistricting by former House Speaker Tom DeLay, justices sent out a mixed message about race, redistricting and the Voting Rights Act, the The landmark civil rights law created to overcome a legacy of poll taxes, whites-only primaries and literacy tests, especially in Southern states.

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