Danger Ahead: Is The Voting Rights Act In Trouble?
3 months ago
Supreme Court justices had skeptical questions for the landmark civil rights law
Uh oh! Did you hear about the tough questioning at Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing on the Voting Rights Act of 1965? Conservative members of the court were down right skeptical of a central provision that requires Southern states, with a history of racial discrimination, to get federal approval before changing voting procedures. Section 5 of the VRA is what assured blacks’ and other minorities’ access to the polls without literacy tests, taxes and other intimidating tactics. Chief Justice John G. Roberts seemed less focused on history. He asked whether “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North.” Fellow conservative Justice Anthony M. Kennedy asked, almost sarcastically, if states like Alabama today should live “under the trusteeship of the United States government.” And Justice Antonin Scalia said the VRA, in 2013, amounts to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” They have got to be kidding! With the court leaning to the right on most issues of race, some legal analysts see the VRA as imperiled by the belief that racial progress – and even the election of an African American president – suggest the restrictions on Southern states are no longer needed. But not so fast! What about the number of Southern states passing voter ID requirements ahead of Obama’s reelection? (New York Times)