Is the Voting Rights Act living on borrowed time?

From a Washington Post review of a number of Republican challenges – including one from Georgia – to Section 5, the potent portion of the Voting Rights Act that requires federal approval of changes to election laws in states with a history of discrimination:

The combination of skeptical justices and an increasingly partisan political environment has led some experts to predict that the end is near for that requirement, which civil rights groups have called the most effective weapon for eliminating voting discrimination.

The Supreme Court’s recent actions “have indicated that Section 5 is living on borrowed time,” Columbia University law professor Nathaniel Persily told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week. “Assuming the personnel on the court remains constant, the question is not whether the court will declare Section 5 unconstitutional, but when and how.”

…The Supreme Court, in a 2009 ruling and again last month, expressed concern about “serious constitutional questions raised by Section 5’s intrusion on state sovereignty.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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134 comments Add your comment

DannyX

February 9th, 2012
1:46 pm

Look at the new DeKalb County School System’s new school board maps. There is a total disregard for racial and geographic balance. Four out of five districts are represented by blacks. Four out of five school board members will live in south DeKalb, none in central DeKalb. When I see this total disregard for equity along with the hypocrisy that goes along with it I must say yes, get rid of the Voting Rights Act.

Georgia, The " New Mississippi "

February 9th, 2012
1:47 pm

Race riots with both sides armed unlike the one-sided affairs with waters cannons back in the 60’s. Southern white guys never voluntarily do what is right —— inbred lack of basic human morals.

GaBlue

February 9th, 2012
1:51 pm

The Goppers who run this state really NEED for this section of the VRA to be stricken from law. They REALLY NEED to be able to use their one-party rule to decide whom they will now allow to vote. They’ll even spend our tax dollars paying lawyers to make that happen! See, if they can’t boss people around, then it’s not “freedom” for them. “Freedom” in Georgia means Republicans make your decisions for you, and you shut up about it, you dang baby-killing commies! Funny isn’t it? How scared they are. Tremble all you want, little crybaby Georgia goppers. The change you smell in the wind — it’s a comin’.

J Throckmorton Malcontent

February 9th, 2012
1:51 pm

Didn’t we just have an attempt to remove the sitting President, who just happens to have a lot of melanin in his skin, from the ballot in Georgia? I shudder to think what would happen here in the Deep South if the Voting Rights Axt should suddenly be found unconstitutional after 38 years. If there’s any place in the US that needs Federal oversight more than Metro Atlanta, I feel sorry for it.

JacketFanMarcus

February 9th, 2012
1:53 pm

@Georgia, The ” New Mississippi ” – that’s a very mean spirited comment. And does nothing to help our country grow.

We all have to get along. I’m black, grew up in the south and personally offended by such a “baiting” comment.

Is there still racism – of course. But things are much better than when I grew up in 70’s in Jacksonville or in the 80’s when I was a student at Georgia Tech.

dc

February 9th, 2012
1:58 pm

So many people still living in the 50s and 60s….amazing.

kgray

February 9th, 2012
2:15 pm

JacketFanMarcus, you must be married to a White woman to make these idiotic comments. If the VRA is removed then the law makers may decide they want to put you back on the plantation. The only reason they want to change of the laws and the VRA is to ensure that once President Obama completes his second term, no other African American will ever be elected again.

Carole

February 9th, 2012
2:40 pm

kgray

You do have to wonder why so pepole are trying to change and/or question so many rules and regulations now that we have a Black President. I don’t look for “color” under every underlying issue, but when it always seems to show up you can’t help but pay attention.

td

February 9th, 2012
2:43 pm

GaBlue

February 9th, 2012
1:51 pm

The Goppers who run this state really NEED for this section of the VRA to be stricken from law. They REALLY NEED to be able to use their one-party rule to decide whom they will now allow to vote. They’ll even spend our tax dollars paying lawyers to make that happen! See, if they can’t boss people around, then it’s not “freedom” for them. “Freedom” in Georgia means Republicans make your decisions for you, and you shut up about it,

It sucks to be in the minority party in the state does it not. I feel your pain since I was there for more then 30 years of my life. I guess some of you libs could rethink your philosophy if you want a little say so in the process.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
2:45 pm

Many of us are black Americans but we have an opinion that is separate and apart from that of the Establishment’s blacks. We believe that immediately after April 4, 1968, the leading integrationist African Americans did what many Palestinians do to their people.

About 10 years ago, 60 Minutes did a story on the number of Palestinians who are no more than spies for Israel and are being compensated handsomely for their services. They are living the good life in Israel by night but parade as friends and proponents of their brothers and sisters in the West-Bank by day.

Many of us in the African American community believe if significant amounts of the civil rights legislature is overturned, those African Americans who have betrayed us for the good life within the system will have no protection, nowhere to run, and no place to hide… obviously people would have to relearn that each race should exclusively take care of their own business.

We say strike down the voting rights act of 1965. The sooner it is done the better it will be for everyone, especially for the deceived and exploited young African Americans.

Amen?

Frederick Douglass

February 9th, 2012
2:46 pm

kgray @ 2:15

Your comments can be likened to an expertly tuned ‘57 Chevy, hitting on all cylinders.

JSH

February 9th, 2012
2:54 pm

“57″ Chevy driving off a cliff of hate.

Frederick Douglass

February 9th, 2012
2:57 pm

Our Lord and Savior

Who are these Establishment Blacks? If you give Sharpton, Jackson, and John Lewis as examples, then I’d have to question whether you’re really black at all.

Frederick Douglass

February 9th, 2012
3:05 pm

JSH

“57 Chevy” driving off a cliff of hate”.

Not to be confused with the cliff that the GOP drove the economy off of just a few short years ago to be sure.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
3:08 pm

Anyone at 1380 waok radio can tell you that I’m black. I used to call the station when Chris Askew was there. At least Chris had some love for African Americans. That’s probably why they got rid of him. Even Derrick “Bozo get your big azz out the middle of the floor” Boazman will confirm my identity.

By the way, my rhythm of speech and thought patterns is expressly black.

Amen?

PMC

February 9th, 2012
3:08 pm

School districts have nothing to do with the VRA. (Everyone hates school redistricting every time)

This is about how voting districts are drawn. I personally wish we could just use a freaking grid system and be done with it.

That said, the idea is to protect minorities from being marginalized by voting district design. It’s a really sad commentary on our history that this was even necessary, but it certainly was for quite a while.

td

February 9th, 2012
3:08 pm

The civil rights act needs to go after the voting rights act and then the hate crimes legislation and any other legislation that gives one gender or race a special set of rights. We are all one people and should live under one set of laws that should be enforced equally on all its citizens.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
3:14 pm

If AJC thought for a minute that I was a white man, they would have totally banned me from their system.

But if they happen to totally banned me, I would take my talents to the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, U-tube, etc.

Amen?

GaBlue

February 9th, 2012
3:18 pm

td,

I find your faux empathy to be repugnant.

EagleGrad

February 9th, 2012
3:19 pm

The issue here is not a racial divide or discrimination. the issue is that the federal government passed a law that applied to some states and not to others, which is inheriently against the constitution. It has been overlooked essentially because people felt it was “right” after considering rivaling policy considerations, and balancing them. The problem here is that Section 5 is discriminatory against the states that it applies to. If a law forbids people from voting based on their race, it is discriminatory. If a law prevents one state from doing something that another may freely do, it is discrminatory.

For this law to be constitutional, it must either be striken from the books, or apply to all states equally.

For those of you who feel that Section 5 is so needed, why not propose a compromise to make the law apply equally? Propose that Section 5 apply to all the states, and not just those “with a history of racial discrimination.” If it is not a big deal to the northern states or to the states in the western US because they “dont discriminate” then why not volunteer to ensure the South stays accountable to this rule by making it apply everywhere? the answer is simple: no state wants to have to deal with the Justice Department with regards to redistricting. It is a pain, and any small or large advantage the party in power might get in redrawing the maps will be checked. This makes it painfully obvious to me that Section 5 is unfair to the states, and should be repealed, but like I said, if you think it should stay in effect in the south, make it apply everywhere.

I have heard leaders in georgia say that it either needs to be repealed or needs to apply to all, they don’t care which. But this law discriminates against some states, and is unconstitutional.

sheepdawg

February 9th, 2012
3:20 pm

terible idea for the deep south, it hasn’t and won’t change one iota,unless forced to do what is moral and right

td

February 9th, 2012
3:29 pm

GaBlue

February 9th, 2012
3:18 pm

td,

I find your faux empathy to be repugnant.

I was not attempting to show empathy just to point out the facts that myself and many others in this state have lived with the same things you talked about for many years and it sucked then as I am sure it sucks for you now. Hopefully you libs will have to live with no say so as long as the Republicans did in Georgia.

PMC

February 9th, 2012
3:30 pm

Honestly I don’t see why if this is going to be a rule, it’s not a rule for every single state.

Josh

February 9th, 2012
3:34 pm

Does any one notice how td is always throwing the term “libs” around as if that is supposed to offend Democrats?

BitterEXdemocrackkk

February 9th, 2012
3:41 pm

democrackkks are too stupid to be offended by being called ‘lib’…

Real News

February 9th, 2012
3:43 pm

Frederick Douglass

February 9th, 2012
2:57 pm
Our Lord and Savior

Who are these Establishment Blacks? If you give Sharpton, Jackson, and John Lewis as examples, then I’d have to question whether you’re really black at all

I will Freddick Douglas wanntabe. You’re no Freddick Douglas. He was a great American and you’re not. This bill plus all of this extra diversity crap need to go. As for President Obama he needs to be voted out of office for his anti-US Constitution communist policies not his skin color. Go he must.

Don't Tread

February 9th, 2012
3:43 pm

EagleGrad beat me to it…this violates the equal protection clause and either should be repealed or apply to everybody.

Real News

February 9th, 2012
3:48 pm

Fred Samford Douglas, The one filled with racist and hate is you my friend. Obama’s numbers are far worst than Bush’s numbers. Under President Obama since he’s been president over 5 million Americans out of work, and alot of them are Black Citizens too.
Diversity = Anybody but Whitie. Also you should banned Obama’s partner-in crime Acorn and it’s new sister companies.

GaBlue

February 9th, 2012
3:51 pm

td,

First, you don’t know as much about everybody as you claim you do, as evidenced by the way you divide us all up into one of two categories and then make sweeping generalizations. If you actually listened to anyone at all, you’d know that not all (99%) of Repubs feel the same way about everything, and the same is true for people who are more inclined to vote for Democrats. The reality is, people agree and disagree on a variety of issues, and more people than you think are staunch independents who make their decisions based on the issues and candidates available in any given year.

Furthermore, your whining about being oppressed for thirty years is completely disingenuous, since quite a few powerful Republicans in this state used to call themselves Democrats whenever they were doing the things they did that you found so horrible. Newsflash, Sparky: They’re still doing the SAME thing: Helping themselves at OUR expense.

Carole

February 9th, 2012
3:51 pm

If it was applied to every state it would loose it’s impact. The reality is, not every state discriminated against minorities the way the states who are governed by Section 5 did. That is why they are still being held accountable. We make rules or laws that apply to only certain segments of the population all of the time. Section 5 comes up for review periodically, so at some point it may eventually be removed. But given the times we currently live in, I say it needs to stay in place.

Real News

February 9th, 2012
3:56 pm

Acorn = Obama = Voter Frauld.

Carole

February 9th, 2012
4:00 pm

Here is the REAL NEWS if no one voted illegal, there was no voter fraud. And you don’t have evidence of that occurring.

Frederick Douglass

February 9th, 2012
4:02 pm

Real News

If it’s 1903 rhetoric can it still be considered “Real News”? Go back to your GED studies, your answer for 7+8 was flagged for being the same as your neighbor’s.

WAW

February 9th, 2012
4:04 pm

Two more generations of “born and bred” Southerners need to die out first. Their death is the thing that will end racism (against blacks, for Latinos it’s just beginning).

honested

February 9th, 2012
4:13 pm

Judging by the events of the last week, isn’t it more appropriate to consider eliminating the ‘Hyde Amendment’ instead?

honested

February 9th, 2012
4:15 pm

WAW

Correct……or when such a topic on a blog like this does not bring out the ignoramus, cracker, inbred, mouth breather response.

td

February 9th, 2012
4:17 pm

The only racist comments I have read on this blog are coming from the supporters of the VRA. One could read these statements and make the conclusion that the act itself has bred a whole 2 generations of racism.

Frederick Douglass

February 9th, 2012
4:22 pm

td

How many generations of racism did the master/slave relationship breed in the south?

JV

February 9th, 2012
4:24 pm

The bill to renew the Act for 25 years was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 13, 2006 by a vote of 390-33, with support from Republican House leadership. The U.S. Senate passed the bill 98–0 on July 20. President George W. Bush signed the bill in a morning ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on July 27, 2006, one year in advance of the 2007 expiration date.

So, we can thank our fellow southerner and former President George W. Bush for giving us a 25 year extension of this antiquated law in 2006. And the act does apply to Texas also. Bush could have vetoed it. But the Republicans saw it as a chance to increase their votes among minorities who are most always more supportive of Democrats. As we can all see, it did little to increase support and votes for Republicans from the “disenfranchised” group the law supposedly protects.

We can also thank our Georgia Representatives and Senators for supporting passage of the extension.

Will

February 9th, 2012
4:28 pm

The VRA is a cherished relic of a time past. Its unintended consequences have been far worse than any residual benefit it might offer. It’s a bad constitutional idea ( some parts of the country subject to different rules than other parts) and its a bad politcal idea. Time for the VRA to go.

td

February 9th, 2012
4:30 pm

Frederick Douglass

February 9th, 2012
4:22 pm

td

How many generations of racism did the master/slave relationship breed in the south?

Every time a conservative brings up the past on one of these boards the lib response is “who cares we are living in the present now”. So I will ask you the same question to you. It has been since my Great great grandfather since any slaves were owned in this country. That is 3 generations and he was dead for 60 years before I was born.

Warren

February 9th, 2012
4:34 pm

EagleGrad – Actually making it natiionwide has been tried and soundly rejected by the representatives of the states that do not have to get pre-clearance.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
4:58 pm

Establishment blacks are blacks/African Americans who depend on the Establishment, aka, the powers that be, to use their influence to give them food, clothing, shelter, education, employment etc. In return, they pledge true fidelity with whatever demonic perverted schemes the powers that be espouse.

Amen?

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
4:59 pm

If the powers that be want to cull the black race via abortion, Establishment blacks support a woman’s right to murder black babies via abortion in the womb and use white institutions to convince gullible blacks to do likewise.

Amen?

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
5:00 pm

If for whatever reasons the powers that be want to destroy the United States, Establishment blacks support world government and use white institutions to convince gullible blacks to follow their lead.

Amen?

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
5:01 pm

If the powers that be want to pervert and cull the races via interracial sex, mongrels, Establishment blacks declare that they don’t see color and use white institutions to convince gullible blacks that racially mixed families are preferable, etc. etc. etc.

Amen?

gm

February 9th, 2012
5:04 pm

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

Dude, yet you support Newt with his adulty affiars:
Go back to the 50″s

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
5:08 pm

If the powers that be want to legitimize the perversion of homosexuality and push it on society and the world, Establishment blacks use white institutions to convince gullible blacks that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. And those homosexuals are like everyone else. And it is normal straight people who are suffering from homophobia.

Amen?

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

February 9th, 2012
5:09 pm

Y’all feel me?

ld

February 9th, 2012
5:12 pm

It’s really a pathetic “report card” on this nation w/”In God We Trust” as its motto that a half century after passing civil rights legislation those problems which, for persons of good conscience, made its passage a moral imperative still exist.