Politicians this morning took the opportunity of the annual pilgrimage across Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge to defend the voting rights legislation inspired by the “Bloody Sunday” confrontation there in 1965.

Vice President Joe Biden is among dozens of national political figures gathered in Selma this morning, just four days after the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

That provision requires states with a history of discrimination to get Justice Department approval before making any change to election procedure. Alabama’s Shelby County, which brought the issue to the Supreme Court, argues that it has changed and the oversight is no longer needed.

Speaking before a breakfast that opens the Selma celebration, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called Section 5 the Voting Rights Act’s enforcement mechanism.

“An unenforced law is no law,” he told reporters.

Jackson said he has concerns Supreme Court might do “something terribly damaging to democracy in this case.”


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