Saturday, May 30, 2009

Voting Rights Act and the Supreme Court

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 rules that certain districts in the United States that cannot change voting requirements, prerequisites without permission from a Federal judicial panel. Those districts are shown in the above map.

In a couple of days, the US Supreme Court is going to rule whether that portion of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional or not. What makes this case out of the ordinary is that it appears that Justice Clarence Thomas may be the deciding vote on ruling the law unconstitutional.

I agree with Colbert King of course. Section 2 of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution says "The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." The key word here may be the word "appropriate". The "preclearance" section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been in force for over 40 years. Congress wants to renew it for another 25 years. Opponents of this measure claim things have changed in the covered districts. No one tries to prevent anyone from voting these days. Proponents claim this is not true; that there are reams of evidence that attempts to suppress the minority vote are ongoing.

It will be interesting to see if the only black member of the Supreme Court votes to take the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act.

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