SCOTUS GUT VOTING RIGHTS ACT
“The law had applied to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states, including Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data. But the chances that the current Congress could reach agreement on where federal oversight is required are small, most analysts say.
Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion. Justice Ginsburg was joined in dissent by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.”
By Bill Mears, CNN
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Washington (CNN) — A federal civil rights law that has stood for generations will be tougher to enforce after Tuesday’s ruling by the Supreme Court.
The court struck down a part of the law that uses a federal formula to determine which states and counties must undergo U.S. oversight of their voting procedures to prevent voter discrimination.
The ruling will make it tougher for the Obama administration to enforce the law, at least until Congress changes it.
Describing the ruling as a “setback,” President Obama said in a statement that his “administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process.”
Voting discrimination, he said, still exists, and the decision “upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair.” And he called on Congress to “pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls.”
The ruling said it’s now up to Congress to revise the law to meet constitutional scrutiny.
“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 the current conditions,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the court’s decision for the majority.
After Tuesday’s ruling, Attorney General Eric Holder shared examples of how the law prevented “discriminatory voting changes.” Specifically, he mentioned how it blocked Texas from adopting a new congressional redistricting map that would have “discriminated against Latino voters.”
Holder also said the Voting Rights Act changed how South Carolina will implement a law requiring photo identification before being allowed to vote. Those changes, he said, protected black voters who would have been “disproportionately” affected.