Though I normally avoid news, a story on CNN today caught my attention. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the Supreme Court will hear arguments about the constitutional validity of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At first listen, I thought they were saying the Court was going to hear arguments about the validity of the *entire* Act. Just before I went into panic mode, I decided to Google it and see what was going on.
NPR had a good article on the issue, as did the Christian Science Monitor. In my mind, it boils down to a states’ rights issue. Section 5 requires some state and local governments (states which historically were ‘difficult’ about allowing blacks to vote) to obtain federal permission before making changes to local voting procedures.
Voting is still a sticky subject in this country. We have seen that legislations will re-district across political boundaries. Section 5, from my understanding, places no extra burden on the states, and, they can, if they want, remove themselves from the “list” by following certain procedures. Removing Section 5 makes it difficult to challenge irregularities (though they can still be challenged, with more burden on the plaintiff however, under Section 2 of the Act). I hope the SCOTUS decides to leave Section 5 in place. If it needs modification to help make it more “current”, let’s do that. I think we would be naive though, if we think that everyone will adhere to the rules, if the rules aren’t explicitly stated.
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