Today the Supreme Court struck down Section Four of the Voting Rights Act. The legislation is considered a landmark civil rights bill that was intended to outlaw discriminatory practices to disenfranchise certain groups of voters. President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law in August of 1965 with Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. present for the signing ceremony.
Section Four of the Voting Rights Act set standards for determining whether a jurisdiction qualifies under the special provisions of the law (federal observers for example). The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, said that this Section is unconstitutional in the current context, leaving it up to Congress to redraw the map to determine which jurisdictions are covered.
Justice Ginsberg delivered the dissent.
So this means that a divided Congress will be tasked with determining which jurisdictions will be covered under the law. The Voting Rights Act was last renewed by Congress in 2006.
Updated 6/25/13 9:43 AM Pacific:
Here are the President’s remarks on the SCOTUS decision:
“I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.
As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote. But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists. And while today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination. I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls. My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd has declared that Congress is not “mature enough” to come up with a way to deal with the Voting Rights Act.