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Voting Rights Decision

Today the Supreme Court struck down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The section struck down by the court was Section 4, which essentially forces certain cities, counties and states to seek Justice Department approval for any changes in their election laws. This was put in place in the 1960s due to poor voter registration and turnout among minorities and a general history of racial discrimination.

Luckily, times have changed and I think this decision proves that it has changed for the better. Essentially the Supreme Court is saying that the formula established in the 1960s is no longer applicable, and Congress can now come up with a new pre-clearance formula that better reflects our current society. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 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.”

The liberal reaction to the decision was immediate and passionate. MSNBC's Chris Hayes described himself as "physically enraged." He labeled the decision as “one of the most stunning exercises in 'judicial activism.'” The DNC is already starting a petition to combat “Republican attacks” on our voting rights, calling the decision an “injustice.” I've heard other liberal pundits have described it as “disgusting.” Chuck Todd of NBC News doubts the ability of Congress to deal with the issue (as the Court suggests): “Frankly, I think, all of us that watch Washington, I don’t think Congress is mature enough to do this right now. That the political, ideological, sort of the way some of these members conduct themselves, I am a pessimist on their ability to do something like this. But, they’re going to have to.” He says that Obama should be the one to lead on the issue … as if Obama had any more credibility in Washington these days.







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