A Supreme Court Test for What's Left of the Voting Rights Act
Added 02-28-21 12:40:04pm EST - “While state legislatures consider new voting restrictions to address claims of election fraud, the justices will hear arguments on what kind of legal scrutiny such laws should face.” - Nytimes.com
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While state legislatures consider new voting restrictions to address claims of election fraud, the justices will hear arguments on what kind of legal scrutiny such laws should face.
WASHINGTON — As Republican state lawmakers around the nation are working furiously to enact laws making it harder to vote, the Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear its most important election case in almost a decade, one that will determine what sort of judicial scrutiny those restrictions will face.
The case centers on a crucial remaining provision of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices that discriminate on the basis of race. Civil rights groups are nervous that the court, now with a six-justice conservative majority, will use the opportunity to render that provision, Section 2, toothless.
The provision has taken on greater importance in election disputes since 2013, when the court effectively struck down the heart of the 1965 law, its Section 5, which required prior federal approval of changes to voting procedures in parts of the country with a history of racial and other discrimination.
But Chief Justice John G. Roberts’s majority opinion in the 5-to-4 decision, Shelby County v. Holder, said Section 2 would remain in place to protect voting rights by allowing litigation after the fact.
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