Shelby County v. Holder
With this decision the court effectively ripped the vital organs out of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. I shuddered out loud when I read the following passage in Adam Liptak’s June 25 New York Times report. “The decision will have immediate practical consequences,” he wrote. “Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation.” If anyone is curious about what happened when people could still get away with it, head on over to the Civil Rights Movement Veterans’ page and take a stab at an Alabama, Louisiana or Mississippi’s historical literacy test. (The answers to these questions were often left intentionally vague so as to give discretion as to the “correct” answer to the questioner.) Chief Justice John Roberts and his four like-minded justices don’t seem to understand one of the main reasons conditions at the polls have improved compared to Jim Crow is the VRA itself, which this verdict demolishes. “Our country has changed,” Roberts wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.” Sadly, Justice Roberts, history has a nasty way of repeating itself.
Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.