September 9, 2012

GOP targets voting rights act

Common Drams - Chris McGreal at the Guardian reports today, "Several state governments are [now] looking to the conservative-leaning supreme court, which has already expressed its doubts about racially-based policy," in order to overturn these rulings. This step would seek to challenge the historic Voter Rights Act of 1965, which gave the federal government some control over voting rules in states with a history of blocking African Americans from voting.
In question is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires "pre-clearance" for nine states – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia – before making changes to voting laws or procedures.
Civil rights leaders and activists have expressed concern over whether the Supreme Court will actually uphold this anti-discrimination law.
"The question is not whether Section 5 of the voting rights act will be struck down, but when and how. Will it die a death of a thousand cuts? Or will it be killed with one swift blow?" Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor, told the Guardian.
"There has been a proliferation of cases that aim to take down and rip out this core provision of the Voting Rights Act," said Debo Adegbile, acting president and lead counsel of the NAACP legal defense fund. "I think it's fair to say that the supreme court invited these challenges."

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