The Voting Rights Act, a key part of the Civil Rights era of the 1960's, could be on the verge of being struck down in its current form.
According to NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing in on an appeal of the Voting Rights Act from Shelby County, Alabama, which is claiming that Congress exceeded its power when the county renewed two key sections of the law back in 2006.
The key provision that is being looked at is Section 5, which requires nine states, and dozens of cities and counties, that had a history of voter discrimination to get permission or "preclearance", from the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court in Washington to change voting procedures in their state, city or county.
In the claim from Shelby County, county lawyer Bert Rein argued that Section 5 is unconstitutional because the formula that is used to determine which states are covered under the provision is outdated. According to NBC News, the formula is based on voter turnout and registration data from 1972.
The main reason that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is in danger of being struck down stems from a 2009 Supreme Court case involving an Austin, Texas Municipal District that had Supreme Court justices question whether or not there is a need for Section 5, stating at the time that voter turnout rates between blacks and whites "now approach parity".
Pete Williams, an NBC reporter who has followed the case, said on Feb. 27 that he is fairly confident that the Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act will be struck down as unconstitutional.
I think it's a safe prediction to say that the Voting Rights Act, as it now stands, is not going to survive. The question is: how far will the Supreme Court go in striking it down? (The major concern among the justices is) the fact that the law is to backward looking.
Williams also went on to say that the justices think that conditions in the South are not as bad as some places in the North.