(Chicago, IL) Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. gives this analysis on SCOTUS Voting Rights Act decision……The 1965 Voting Rights Act was the implementing legislation in fulfillment of the 15th Amendment - 95 years later. In other words, it took 95 years – along with agitation, the murders of voting rights workers and a Selma-to-Montgomery march – in order to stimulate the Congress to write, and the President to sign legislation (a law), that made the 15th Amendment enforceable and effective in the real world. Most of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is permanent. While the US Constitution provides that U.S. citizens may vote without interference based on race from the states, the ruling by the Supreme Court today makes that protection more uncertain than it has been at any time since 1965.
Despite the fact that Congress passed a bipartisan extension of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, today’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder says that the formula for Section V coverage is not precise enough to satisfy the majority in the Supreme Court. Section IV is the formula. According to Justice Ginsburg in her dissent...:Alabama has highest successful rate of VRA section 2 lawsuits" in other words, even while subject to the restraining effect of Section V, Alabama was found to have denied or abridged voting rights on account of race or color more frequently than nearly all other states in the union".
"Today's decision is designed to unravel 48 years of progress since the 1965 VRA. We are calling upon the President to convene Congressional leaders immediately to begin drafting the appropriate legislation to prevent the forward movement of the state's rights agenda to dismantle and suppress the vote of African Americans, Latinos, 18-years olds, and other disenfranchised members of the electorate. This 5-4 decision makes us less free less democratic and less equal. We call for the US Department of Justice to increase its efforts to enforce the voting rights of all American citizens.
Justice Ginsberg says it best when she stated "after a century's failure to fulfill the promise of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, the passage of the VRA finally led to signal improvement on this front". The Justice Department estimated that in the five years after the VRA's passage, almost as many blacks register to vote in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina as in the entire century before 1965." Justice Ginsburg further stated that..." Congress is confronting the most constitutionally invidious form of discrimination, and the most fundamental right in our democratic system".
We will not sit by idly while one of the most effective civil rights enforcement provisions is undermined. Americans will do the right thing. They will insist that the formula be updated and that Sections IV and V be reaffirmed by the Congress.