- 3 years after Northwest Austin v. Holder, a new case about sections 4(b) & 5 of the Voting Rights Act is before #SCOTUS.
- Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was set to expire after 5 years. Yet it has proved to be anything but temporary.
- Sections 4(b) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act are stuck in a time warp, rendering them unconstitutional.
Three years ago, in the widely watched case Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court did something that many court observers found astonishing: It gave Congress an opportunity to, in effect, do over some provisions of the Voting Rights Act it reauthorized in 2006. The decision was 8-1. Congress and the Obama administration ignored the justices' suggestion. Now a new case about the same provisions is back before the court.
On Feb. 27, the justices will hear oral arguments in Shelby County, Ala. v. Eric Holder. Most court watchers anticipate a more definitive ruling than three years ago in Northwest Austin—either striking down or upholding Sections 4(b) and 5 of the Act. Many believe both provisions are in serious trouble. If they are struck down, the justices will validate what most Americans already recognize—that minorities in the deep South have the same opportunities to participate in elections as they do in the rest of the nation.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was born from the blood that was shed by African-Americans in the deep South in their attempt to register to vote and participate in elections. President Johnson and Congress deemed the disenfranchisement of blacks to be a national emergency. They were correct.
This article is available by subscription to The Wall Street Journal. The full text will be posted to AEI.org on Monday, March 4, 2013.