The Common Good

SCOTUS: Key Section of Voting Rights Act Unconstitutional

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that targeted states with histories of racial discrimination, saying the formula for choosing the states subject to "preclearance" is "based on 40-year-old data." The court's decision states that Congress can revise the formula under which it decides which jurisdictions are subject to oversight: 

"Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions," the decision reads. 

Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare §4(b) unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.  Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in §2.  We issue no holding on §5 itself, only on the coverage  formula. Congress may draft another formula based on  current conditions. … 

Read the full decision HERE.

Image: Supreme Court Building, Cameron Whitman / Shutterstock.com

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