Supreme Court to decide on changes to historic act
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to strike down a key part of a historic voting rights bill.
For 47 years, states with a history of discrimination have been required to get special permission from the federal government before changing election laws.
Now, those states will tell the Supreme Court that section five of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is no longer necessary.
Frank Ellis, Shelby County, Ala. attorney, said, “It’s 47, 48-years-old and the south has changed in that 48 years. It’s not current; it’s not relevant anymore.”
Edward Blum, Citizens for Fair Representation, said, “The country has moved on. Race is not an element in elections in the deep south any more than it is in places like Ohio and Wisconsin.”
They argue all 50 states should be treated the same.
However, civil rights groups say things are not the same.
They claim there is evidence of cities and states trying to change laws to prevent minorities from voting.
Ben Jealous, NAACP President and CEO, said, “Our country has to hold onto its power to stop mischief at the polls before it happens.”
President Obama, a former constitutional law professor, said in a radio interview that enforcing the rest of the voting rights law would be tough after-the-fact.
He said, “People could keep coming up with new schemes each election, even if ultimately they were ruled to violate the Voting Rights Act, it would be hard for us to catch those things up front.”
The rules apply to nine states and parts of seven others.
Arguments begin Wednesday but it could be months before a decision is made.