As part of our big, new redesign of the Alliance for Justice website, the Justice Watch blog has moved. To be sure you're getting all the latest news about the fight for a fairer America, visit us at www.afj.org/blog

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why judges matter: another victory for voting – thanks to the Voting Rights Act

A special panel of three federal judges today delayed implementation of a South Carolina law requiring voters to produce a federal or state issued photo ID. The judges ruled that trying to implement the law in time for the presidential election would put an unreasonable burden on minority voters. That would violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

According to Bloomberg News:
"Given the short time left before the 2012 elections, and given the numerous steps necessary to properly implement the law -- particularly the new ‘reasonable impediment’ provision -- and ensure that the law would not have discriminatory retrogressive effects on African-American voters in 2012, we do not grant pre-clearance for the 2012 elections," U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh said in the ruling.
The keyword there is “pre-clearance.” Under the Voting Rights Act, one of the signature achievements of the fight for racial equality, certain parts of the country with a long history of discrimination must get special, advance approval – “pre-clearance” – before they change voting procedures.

This provision, considered the heart of the Voting Rights Act, has been in effect for nearly half a century. But now it is under threat. Its constitutionality has been challenged and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the case during the coming term. Given the track record of the current Supreme Court majority, many observers fear that the preclearance provision will be struck down.

It’s one more reason why judges matter.

No comments: