ArticleJune 25th, 2013
Supreme Court Strikes Down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act
The Supreme Court issued a ruling today that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is no longer constitutional, overriding objections from civil rights proponents who say that it is one of the most important pieces of legislation from the civil rights era.
Section 4 required nine southern states to gain approval of the Department of Justice before making any changes to voting laws in their state. The states were determined based on polls taken in the 1960s to find what areas had low minority-voter turnout.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion in the 5-4 decision, stated, “Section 4’s formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions.”
Court tells Congress to write a new formula
“Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2. We issue no holding on [Section] 5 itself, only on the coverage formula. Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions,” he wrote, arguing that Section4 was “based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.”
However, most analysts say the issue is too controversial for the current Congress to reach agreement on a formula for where federal oversight is still required.
Southern states felt discriminated against
Many southern states felt that the act was discriminatory because it imposed rules in some states and not others. Many of those cities and towns now have equal voter turnout between minorities and whites.
The court was also expected to rule on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which allows the Justice Department to preview any changes to voting laws in areas with a history of racial discrimination. However, the court did not make a decision on Section 5, allowing it to stand.
Voter ID laws seen as new form of discrimination
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 also prohibited states from creating any voter qualifications that could make an otherwise eligible citizen unable to vote based on race. But nearly 50 years after the act was put into place, many southern states feel that is no longer needed.
While times have changed, many civil rights activists point to new Voter ID laws as evidence that they are still fighting against discriminatory voting laws. In addition, many voters in large urban areas waited hours to vote, and counties were ordered to stay open into the late hours of the 2012 election.
To see how some people reacted to the news around the country, check out these tweets on today’s decision:
Sec 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. 5-4. Per CJ Roberts.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 25, 2013
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) June 25, 2013
POWER TO THE STATES http://t.co/t4eAzYogK8
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) June 25, 2013
— Compiled by Carrie Waltemeyer for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
After victory, Standing Rock protesters remain at camp
On Sunday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would have come a half a mile south of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Instead, the Corps said it would begin to explore alternative routes. Continue readingDakota Access PipelineGovernment & Civicsnonviolent protestNorth DakotaoilpipelineSocial StudiesStanding RockStanding Rock Sioux Tribe
Massachusetts students recreate election reactions with Mannequin Challenge
A group of students at Somerville High School in Somerville, Massachusetts decided to capture the range of emotions they were experiencing by creating a Mannequin Challenge video. Continue readingElection 2016mannequin challengePoliticsStudent Voice
Aid groups call for access as airstrikes continue in rebel-held Aleppo
Fighting has escalated in Aleppo, Syria as rebel groups try to hold off government forces attempting to take back the eastern section of the city. Continue readingAleppoCivil WarSyrian Civil War
The legacy of Cuba’s Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro, the 90-year old communist leader of Cuba, died on Friday. He had ruled the country with a firm grip for nearly half a century, withstanding a 50-year long U.S. economic embargo and multiple assassination attempts. Continue readingBay of PigsCold WarcommunismcubaCuban Missile CrisisFidel CastroGovernment & CivicshistoryPoliticsRaul CastroSocial Studies
DACA Dreamers fear Trump’s immigration policy
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised to crack down on undocumented immigration, including hundreds of thousands of young people who have obtained temporary legal status under the Obama Administration. Continue readingCivicsDACADonald TrumpDreamersElection 2016GovernmentGovernment & Civicsimmigrantsimmigrationimmigration policyPresident ObamaSocial Studiesundocumented immigrants