Jim Crow Returns: The Voting Rights Act Gutted Today!

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A rally against voter supression at Centennial Park in Tampa Bay, Florida, on August 28, 2012. Photo by George Zornick Read more: Republicans Boast About Voter Suppression in Tampa, but the Ground Is Shifting | The Nation https://www.thenation.com/blog/169642/republicans-boast-about-voter-suppression-tampa-ground-shifting#ixzz2XFlg6bWZ Follow us: @thenation on Twitter | TheNationMagazine on Facebook

A rally against voter suppression at Centennial Park in Tampa Bay, Florida, on August 28, 2012. Photo by George Zornick

This morning the Supreme Court cut out the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It ended the practice of “coverage.”  Covered states (mostly in the South), with a history of racial discrimination, must receive clearance from the federal government before changing their voting laws. The Court’s decision made unconstitutional the formula that determines which states are “covered” (monitored by Washington).

The vote was 5 to 4, with the five conservative-leaning judges in the majority and the four liberal-leaning justices in the minority. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the decision.

Congressman John Lewis, who was severely beaten during the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, watches Voting Rights decision with @abc. He says he is "sad and dismayed."

Congressman John Lewis, who was severely beaten during the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, watches today’s voting rights decision. He says he is “sad and dismayed.”

Congress could chooses to pass a new bill for determining which states would be covered. However, reaching agreement on a new formula will likely be impossible, given its partisan gridlock. Even if such a bill were to pass, it would probably be immediately contested in court.

Just two hours after the Supreme Court announced its decision, the formerly “covered” state of Texas announced that a voter identification law – blocked last year by the federal government – would go into effect immediately.

Today Breaking News will focus on the consequences of this decision for our country and on the past history which, it seems, we are about to relive.

Here is a 3-minute video history of the Voting Rights Act that many famous and many unsung civil rights activists risked (and sometimes lost) their lives for.

Read more Breaking News about the Supreme Court’s decision, the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights workers whose struggle gave birth to the Act.

 

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