More on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

With just days  left before the Supreme Court hears argument in the case seeking elimination of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County v. Holder,  legal analyst Andrew Cohen reminds us, in “After 50 Years, the Voting Rights Act’s Biggest Threat: The Supreme Court,” how far we came after the Act became law in 1965, and how fast we’d fall back if the Supreme Court throws out that section:

One of the great ironies of the Shelby County case is its timing. When county officials filed their declaratory action in April 2010 they had every reason to think that Section 5 was dead in the water.

But a funny thing happened to this challenge on its way to the Shelby County case. The entire landscape of voting rights changed in a relative blink. And the change restored and renewed the Act by reminding hundreds of millions of Americans, a whole new generation of voters, of the purpose and effect of the old law. So far no one has come up with an accurate count (or even a reliable ballpark figure) of how many Americans got to vote last election because the Voting Rights Act protected them from state or local election laws that would have disenfranchised them. But considering the number of successful challenges, not to mention the deterrent effect noted below, the number cannot be low.

 

 

6 Comments

  1. david esmay

    February 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Considering the fact that Mississippi finally abolished slavery this week and acknowledge the 13th Amendment, I’d say the 1965 VAR has at least another 100 years of relevancy.

  2. Riger Clegg

    February 22, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Here’s why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is bad policy, outdated, unconstitutional, and ought to be struck down by the Supreme Court: http://www.pacificlegal.org/opeds/Overturn-unconstitutional-Voting-Rights-Act

    What’s especially ironic is that the principal use to which Section 5 is put today is forcing jurisdictions to create and maintain racially segregated and gerrymandered voting districts – which is completely at odds with the original ideals of the Civil Rights Movement.

    There are other federal laws available to protect the rights of voters, and they don’t raise the problems that Section 5 does.

  3. david esmay

    February 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    The fight over Section 5 is about the legality of voter ID’s pure and simple. If Section 5 is struck down, then states can get away with voter ID laws and disenfranchise more voters, ones that don’t vote Republican.

    11% of voters don’t have state issued ID’s, most are either students, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor. Many don’t have transportation or live long distances from state offices that issue ID’s, and these people don’t vote Republican.

  4. Frances Jenkins

    February 23, 2013 at 6:13 am

    David, Your information is flawed. Must have come from Blueprint.

  5. david esmay

    February 25, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Frances, don’t let your mind wander. It’s too small to be out on it’s own.

  6. david esmay

    February 25, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    By the by, my information comes from a study done by the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law. Your information is extracted from the backside of an elephant and filtered through a vacuous sieve.