Supreme Court: Provision In Voting Rights Act Unconstitutional - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Supreme Court: Provision In Landmark Voting Rights Act Unconstitutional

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A split Supreme Court strikes down a section of the landmark Voting Rights Act.

In a five to four decision, divided along ideological lines, the high court found section four of the 1965 law unconstitutional.

The provision, designed to remedy discrimination against minority voters, set up a coverage formula that listed States and political subdivisions that applied poll tests and other forms of voter discrimination. These jurisdictions then, according to section five, had to get approval from the Attorney General before they made any changes in voter qualifications or prerequisites.

The majority opinion of the court concluded that provision four relies on decades of old data, and that these districts now have achieved voter equality.

Writing for the majority opinion, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "There is no denying...that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions."

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Ginsburg wrote about the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act to create voting equality. But she also emphasized the work that still needs to be done.

"Jurisdictions covered by the preclearance requirement continued to submit, in large numbers, proposed changes to voting laws that the Attorney General declined to ap­prove, auguring that barriers to minority voting would quickly resurface were the preclearance remedy elimi­nated."

President Obama called the court's decision "disappointing," and called on Congress to act.

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