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SCOTUS tosses out part of Voting Rights Act

06/25/2013 2:22 PM

06/25/2013 2:23 PM

The invaluable Scotusblog reports the Supreme Court has thrown out section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which required some jurisdictions to submit changes in voter status to the federal government for preclearance.

Looks like 5-4.

The holding: That the formula used to measure compliance with Sec. 4 is too old and not based on current conditions in affected states.

Congress can still require preclearance, but must change the formula to meet current circumstances.

From the majority opinion: “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.”

From the dissent: “Just as buildings in California have a greater need to be earthquake proofed, places where there is greater racial polarization in voting have a greater need for prophylactic measures to prevent purposeful race discrimination... Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

However, Section 2 — which applies to all jurisdictions, including Kansas City — remains intact. Section 2 makes discrimination in voting practices broadly illegal.

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