Could the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which forced the South to stop disenfranchsing African-Americans, be overturned by the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court?
The SC has begun hearing a challenge by Shelby County, Alabama, to Section 5 of the Act, requiring 9 mainly Southern states to preclear changes to voting rules (including number of polling stations, ID requirements etc.) with the Justice Department, which has the power to block them. The states/localities subject to Section 5 are: "Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states, including the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx".
Congress renewed the Act for 25 years in 2006. But several conservative SC justices have expressed misgivings as to the constitutionality of the law:Originally Posted by Judge Anthony KennedyConservatives have a 5-4 majority on the SC.Originally Posted by Judge Antonin Scalia
The liberal judges defended the Act. Judge Sotomayor retorted to Scalia, asking "do you think the right to vote is a racial entitlement?". Judge Elena Kagan said that under any formula, Alabama would be included under the scope of Section 5, based on the number of voting-rights suits, and that the 9 states were responsible for a disproportionate number of voting rights violations. Judge Stephen Breyer said voter-suppression was a disease that had improved but was still there.