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Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Part of Voting Rights Act 
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Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:14 pm
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link to NY Times article

So basically The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a piece of legislation in the US that makes it illegal to have states implement discriminatory voting policies that would disenfranchise minority (specifically African American) voters. Today the Supreme Court struck down section four of the Voting Rights Act, which determines which states (mostly in the south, all with a history of racist voting practices) would need to get pre-clearance. Pre-clearance means that they need to report any voting district changes or polling places changed in order to make sure they are not being discriminatory. They did not strike down section five, but without section four determining what states need to get pre-clearance, section five is pretty much useless as well. Now unless congress decides on a new way to determine which states need to get pre-clearance then basically these states can make any racist or discriminatory voting legislation they want.

“The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective… Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
— Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:53 pm
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The voting restrictions are as illegal as always. This didn't suddenly just bring back literacy tests and poll taxes, it just struck down the formula used to determine if there should be a barrier to enacting such laws (does not include the barriers of "being a decent human being" and "not being horrendously racist"). If the laws pass, they can be challenged in court just like any other piece of legislation; in the meantime, challenged laws cannot be enforced, and if they're racist and illegal, they'll be struck down as usual.

Really, the effects of this (hopefully temporary, but Congress isn't going to revamp the monitoring criteria any time soon) ruling is that we're gonna see a bunch of sneaky-racist laws like that Voter I.D. crap get snuck in. Which sucks. The good news, though, is that laws like that actually have been blocked by judges (see: Pennsylvania), so hopefully this won't become an enormous mess.

The Supreme Court's been making quite a few noticeably narrow decisions recently, which can be good (in this case, the part they struck down can be fixed) or bad (they could have struck down all of DOMA).

At least they prohibited gene patents. That's my favorite SCOTUS case that no one seems to be talking about.

Fake edit: I didn't notice until now that redistricting was part of the things they could do now. That's not good. Gerrymandering is detestable, but then both parties do like to do it. Politics!

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Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:50 pm
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