Shelby County v. Holder

The Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU law school has a resource page on the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to ensure state and local governments do not pass laws or policies that deny American citizens the equal right to vote based on race. As the leading democracy of the world, the U.S. should work to keep voting free, fair, and accessible. That’s why the Voting Rights Act is so important. It makes sure every citizen, regardless of their race, has an equal opportunity to have a say and participate in our great democracy.

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, removing a critical tool to combat racial discrimination in voting. Under Section 5 of the landmark civil rights law, jurisdictions with a history of discrimination must seek pre-approval of changes in voting rules that could affect minorities. This process, known as “preclearance,” blocks discrimination before it occurs. In Shelby County v. Holder, the Court invalidated Section 4 — which determines the states and localities covered by Section 5 — arguing that current conditions require a new coverage formula.

Because 1965 was such a long time ago, and since then we have totally achieved racial equality across the board, so there is no longer any reason at all to look with a particularly beady eye at laws passed by states that had Jim Crow laws for a century and more after Reconstruction. Oh heavens no.

One Response to “Shelby County v. Holder”