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Historic challenge to Voter Rights Act—Update

David Goldman, AP

David Goldman, AP

Though you may have missed it in all the media attention around the ruling on California’s Proposition 8, the US Supreme Court issued its ruling in the historic Shelby v Holder last week.  It was a suit brought by Shelby County, Alabama, against the U.S. Department of Justice challenging the pre-clearance provisions of the Voters Rights Act which I originally wrote about on Being Latino three months ago.

The Court in a 5-4, conservative/liberal split, decision ruled that while racism still exists in America– times and people have fundamentally changed enough that the U.S. government can no longer enforce the formula that is based upon 1960s statistics.

While the federal government is allowed to continue to enforce other provisions of the Voter Rights Act.  The Court basically challenged a deeply divided Congress to fashion new standards if they want the Justice Department to be able to enforce any type of pre-clearance of changes to voting laws in jurisdictions formally under the shadow of that provision of the law.

It will be interest to see if an ideologically-challenged Congress will be able to do so, or whether it will become the talk of political fundraisers and those running for office in 2014 and beyond.


By Being Latino Contributor, Jeffery Cassity   Jeffery Cassity is a mostly socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative Anglo male who is involved in his local Hispanic community as the widower of a 1st generation Mexican-American woman and his active, some would say hyperactive, membership in the local Council of the League of Latin American Citizens(LULAC)

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