Forum Thread

Supreme Court strikes down key part of Voting Rights Act

Reply to ThreadDisplaying 11 Posts
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling was a major setback for voting rights in that it sent back to Congress the responsibility for redrawing the voting district maps. From the Washington Post:

    "In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. That means the Justice Department cannot use its current formula for deciding which parts of the current must get preclearance for changes to voting laws. The law is outdated, the Court said.

    “Section 4’s formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.”

    "The Court did not rule on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Basically, what this means is that while the Justice Department still has the authority to approve voting-related statutes in areas with a history of racial discrimination, the formula used to determine what those areas are is outdated. “Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions,” Roberts wrote."


    If anyone has any thoughts that this dysfunctional Congress, especially Boehner's House of Representatives, might do anything to ensure fairness in voting forget it. The Republican Party is all about disenfranchising voters and gerrymandering to deny minorities proportional representation ...the more people that vote the less their chances of winning.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    From the Huffington Post:

    "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a wide-ranging dissent on behalf of herself and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, justifying the continued vitality of the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provision.

    "The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective," Ginsburg wrote. "The Court appears to believe that the VRA’s success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that preclear­ance is no longer needed."

    As for Section 4, Ginsburg wrote that "the record for the 2006 reauthorization makes abundantly clear [that] second-generation barriers to minority voting rights have emerged in the covered jurisdictions as at­tempted substitutes for the first-generation barriers that originally triggered preclearance in those jurisdictions."


    Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel for the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, views it similarly: “The Supreme Court has effectively gutted one of the nation's most important and effective civil rights laws...Minority voters in places with a record of discrimination are now at greater risk of being disenfranchised than they have been in decades. Today's decision is a blow to democracy. Jurisdictions will be able to enact policies which prevent minorities from voting, and the only recourse these citizens will have will be expensive and time-consuming litigation.”

    I agree with the Justice Ginsberg and Jon Greenbaum. The conservative members of the court are putting politics ahead of fairness. They cannot actually believe that this Tea Party dominated Congress is capable of doing anything fair when it comes to minority voting.
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Schmidt:


    I'm in full agreement with you. Although critics of Section 5 say that it "is a unique federal intrusion on state sovereignty and a badge of shame for the affected jurisdictions" the fact remains that the law DID prevent voter identification requirements and cutbacks on early voting. Here's a link to this morning's New York Times article about this topic:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html?hp

    As further proof that the Voting Rights Act is still necessary, all you need to do is watch Pennsylvania House majority leader Mike Turzai trying to defend Pennsylvania's Voter ID law on June 23, 2012:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BovRXWemws

    In spite of the Republican Party's attempts to steal the election, the Obama/Biden team got 52% of the vote, and Romney/Ryan got a little more than 46%.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_Pennsylvania,_2012

    Due to the fact that Obama got all 20 of Pennsylvania's electoral votes on the basis of the "winner take all" , Republicans now want to change the formula to a "by precinct" rule. Since Obama only won 13 of Pennsylvania's 59 precincts, Willard would have won by a landslide, which is also true on a nationwide basis, which the map below graphically illustrates:

    http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4948451906619208&pid=1.7&w=261&h=172&c=7&rs=1

    You may remember got Romney got ZERO votes in 59 precincts in Philadelphia, and in 9 districts in Ohio.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    It's a sad day, that is for sure. While this ruling was not unexpected after the oral arguments, I still held out hope that Justice Kennedy would find it in his heart to do the right thing. Racism is alive and well in this country and for the conservative court to think otherwise just goes to show how far removed they are from the actual events that are taking place throughout the country. All you have to do is look at how many times Section 4 was invoked by the Justice Department to halt voting changes in the South and any reasonable person understands that the law did exactly what it was meant to do.

    Voting is a fundamental right in this country and I am worried about what this decision will mean. Sure, poll taxes and literacy tests won't be allowed, but the south will find some other way to impede access to the polls for African Americans. There are many subtle ways that southern states can make it more difficult for minorities to vote and I have a feeling that we will be seeing some dramatic voting changes in the not so distant future throughout the south. This court may have not only put the breaks on racial progress in this country but reversed it for decades to come. It's a true shame.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Arizona and Jared --

    Yes, pundits are just now figuring out the implications. While Michele Bachmann can foresee a permanent Democratic Party president if immigration reform is enacted and undocumented Latinos are given the right to vote, in many of these red states, a House of Representatives permanently in Republican hands is a likely outcome...unless people come to their senses. The gerrymandering that has been done or attempted to be done in the past will apply to both state and federal elected offices, and one can foresee lopsided victories by Democrats in a few select districts but Republicans taking the vast majority of seats by small margins...and hence a majority in the House and state offices.

    It will become open season on gerrymandering in red states to make them even redder. And the outcome will be an even sharper political divide as Republicans will never have to compromise or apologize.

    This is a huge victory for Republicans and a defeat for democracy. Bush's legacy lives on in the Supreme Court.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Other than allowing certain legislators to be able to move polling places around without federal approval and as long as they do it within the already established guide lines, what's the uproar about, is this a back door attempt for voter I.D. ? or some sort of sly maneuver to Gerrymand a particular district?
  • Other Party
    Tennessee
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Schmidt Wrote: The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling was a major setback for voting rights in that it sent back to Congress the responsibility for redrawing the voting district maps. From the Washington Post:

    "In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. That means the Justice Department cannot use its current formula for deciding which parts of the current must get preclearance for changes to voting laws. The law is outdated, the Court said.

    “Section 4’s formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.”

    "The Court did not rule on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Basically, what this means is that while the Justice Department still has the authority to approve voting-related statutes in areas with a history of racial discrimination, the formula used to determine what those areas are is outdated. “Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions,” Roberts wrote."


    If anyone has any thoughts that this dysfunctional Congress, especially Boehner's House of Representatives, might do anything to ensure fairness in voting forget it. The Republican Party is all about disenfranchising voters and gerrymandering to deny minorities proportional representation ...the more people that vote the less their chances of winning.
  • Democrat
    Massachusetts
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    johnnycee Wrote: Other than allowing certain legislators to be able to move polling places around without federal approval and as long as they do it within the already established guide lines, what's the uproar about, is this a back door attempt for voter I.D. ? or some sort of sly maneuver to Gerrymand a particular district?
    I think the concern here is mostly a matter of what this represents in terms of the rolling-back of forward progress. It's a bit of the "death by a thousand cuts" kind-of-thing: Combine this with some real indications of social regression in certain areas of the country, and you have the recipe for a real degradation of voting rights.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    I was under the impression that, that particular section was supposed to be a temporary solution and that since the Congress failed to update the requirements and by failing to do so, even with the Court reminding the Congress as little as 4 years ago that their inaction would leave the Court to make the decision with little choice but to render it unconstitutional. So the Supremes left the door open for Congress to act.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Yes, I heard that it was voted this way because the justices said the standards used in 1965 were not relevant today. Is that political ? Probably yes. The idea that congress will be given a task to accomplish is a scary thought. They can agree with nothing. I imagine congress will take about 12 years to write new standards for the voting act.
  • Democrat
    Massachusetts
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    I think we can assume that the Congress will not agree on anything, and that this issue will either truly go away or be brought back to the court with evidence that the relaxation of the scrutiny resulted in violations of voting rights.