Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Part of Voting Rights Act

Adam Liptak, New York Times, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, ruling that Congress had not provided adequate justification for subjecting nine states, mostly in the South, to federal oversight.

“In 1965, the states could be divided into two groups: those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout, and those without those characteristics,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “Congress based its coverage formula on that distinction. Today the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.”

The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and gave very different accounts of whether racial minorities continue to face discrimination in voting.

President Obama, whose election as the nation’s first black president was cited by critics of the law as evidence that it was no longer needed, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling. “Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent,” he said.

The decision will have immediate practical consequences. Changes in voting procedures that had required advance federal approval, including voter identification laws and restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation.

“With today’s decision,” said Greg Abbott, Texas’ attorney general, “the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

Chief Justice Roberts said that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data. When the law was last renewed, in 2006, Congress relied on data from decades before to decide which states and localities were covered. {snip}

Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, joined by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The majority held that the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, originally passed in 1965 and most recently updated by Congress in 1975, was unconstitutional. The section determines which states must receive preclearance from the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington before they make minor changes to voting procedures, like relocating a polling place, or major ones, like redrawing electoral districts.


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  • Except this was not the huge resounding victory for our side that you would think it was from seeing the leftist and black crackpots on MSNBC and elsewhere rage.

    * SCOTUS did not find the VRA as a whole unconstitutional.

    * SCOUTS did not find the concept of preclearance unconstitutional.

    * SCOTUS did not find the geographical inconsistency of preclearance unconstitutional.

    What SCOUTS did do is find that:

    * The methodology used in 1965 to determine which states must do preclearance is obsolete and unconstitutional

    * That no jurisdiction can be put under permanent preclearance mandates.

    The crackpot left is worried that Congress won’t do anything now on preclearance, simply because Republicans run the House. Except back in 2006, when Republicans ran everything, they renewed the as-written VRA by a 98-0 Senate vote and a 400-30-ish House vote and Bush’s signature. I have no doubt that today’s Federal government will easy pass a preclearance system. It just won’t be able to be permanent, and the “best” we can hope for is that Republicans explicitly remove Voter Photo ID as grounds to deny clearance.

    • Dave4088

      Good points. Supporting the VRA in its entirety was supposed to ingratiate the feckless Republicans with the black community, yet they voted for Obama at 96% and 94% in the last two elections. Of course, the Republicans never seem to learn and conclude that ever more pandering to non-whites is the solution.

      • Eagle_Eyed

        They’re called the stupid party for a reason.

      • Joseph

        “Of course, the Republicans never seem to learn and conclude that ever more pandering to non-whites is the solution.”

        It’s a corollary of advising: “never resist a rapist and you won’t get hurt”.

  • WhiteGayMale

    I was thrilled to hear this decision today. Sure, I’d prefer to see a complete removal of the VRA, but this is a start. Plus, it raises awareness of racial issues in peoples’ minds, and I believe that’s a good thing.

    • sbuffalonative

      Following some of the comments made by blacks, one would think the next step in the process is to reinstate slavery.

      • Epiminondas

        One commenter said that a “new” battle was now on to pass yet another voting rights law.

    • Eagle_Eyed

      I’m with you. Obamaholder are mad because it hampers the control the Feds have on certain jurisdictions even though the ruling still tacitly grants Federal sovereignty over state issues.

  • bigone4u

    Business Insider has a table showing what they purport to be the deciding factor for John Roberts. The table shows blacks in the south vote about equally percent wise as do whites. I recall it being roughly 70 percent of whites and 70 percent of blacks voting in 2004 in the southern states. In 1965 about 20 percent of blacks voted. Obviously, from what we know about voter fraud in black areas in the last election, the Court needs to take up the issue of Democrat and minority voter fraud, not suppression of black votes by imaginary evil white racists.

  • sbuffalonative

    It’s unlikely there will be a viable, mainstream black candidate in the next presidential election. This will result in fewer blacks voting in the next election. This then will be tauted as proof that this ruling has devastated black voting rights.

  • The__Bobster

    Once again we se that there are four judges who aren’t even qualified to preside over a traffic court. Funny how a certain group has no respect for the Constitution.

    • Romulus

      They make up nearly 70% of all lawyers in the entire country.

      • BonusGift

        And 100% of the recent, acting, and prospective Fed Chairmen.

  • Epiminondas

    Amazing. Even a blind rat can occasionally find a piece of cheese.

  • Evette Coutier

    You have to wonder about the double think of people who are supporters of the voting rights act, but see nothing wrong with using the IRS to suppress conservative voters. It seems evident that they have no principles beyond winning. It makes me ask what will be necessary to overcome their tactics.

    • Romulus

      We will have to “Go to the mattresses”

  • I re-read John Roberts’s majority opinion. My less than enthusiastic reaction to what SCOTUS did today has not changed.

    But there was a bombshell in it that I missed the first time. The Feds/Obama/Holder/DOJ admitted point blank, using the phrase “reverse engineered,” that way back when, back when the VRA was first crafted, that the way certain states and jurisdictions were forced to do preclearance wasn’t based on any objective criteria agreed upon then search for violators, it was a matter of choosing the “offending” jurisdictions first then finding some commonality which would apply to them all but ensnare no other states or jurisdictions. When more states and jurisdictions were later added to the preclearance list in 1970 and 1975, based on data from the 1968 and 1972 Presidential elections, the same thing happened — The Feds decided on who they wanted to pick on, and then worked backward from there to find some criteria which would fit only them and no others. IOW, the whole notion of preclearance and who had to do it was entirely a matter of fulfilling political vendettas. It’s like saying you want to throw John Smith, Jane Jones, Cindy Doe and Jerry Williams in jail and no other people, so you dig through those four individuals’ life histories and present circumstances to find something in common about those four and only those four but nobody else, make whatever that is a crime, then arrest the four of them.

    I always suspected that the reason Arizona was put on the preclearance list was that the state had the temerity to produce an opponent to Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

    • Exactly; Arizona was never what anyone would call a “Jim Crow” state.

    • BonusGift

      Sounds a lot like what is happening with the surveillance state and the current 8 million plus list of names of thought criminals. That is, first you decide who you want to vote or not vote, who will be reeducated or left alone, who to kill or be left alive, and whom you decide prison or the gulag would do some good, then you carry it out based on your list you already compiled, yet you pretend at the time it all just happened and largely came out of the blue. Again, ‘hate crimes’. ‘hate speech’, the VRA, etcetera are clearly creations targeted at YT and hatched by that unnamed group that initiated and/or designed what happened in just about every Marxist run state since the ‘Russian Revolution’.

  • IstvanIN

    NJ REPUBLICAN Governor Christie just announced a new scholarship only for women and minorities. Now I know who I’ll vote for in November. She may be a Dem, but at least she wears her anti-white racism on her party sleeve.

    • This is why I’m glad Ed Markey beat that Hispanic open borders liberal/RINO Republican, Gomez. tonight in Massachusetts. And I would have voted Markey if I lived there, just to ensure Gomez didn’t win. We’re in the middle of the immigration debate, and we’re practically on bended begging knee pleading with the Stupid Party not to buckle on swinging the borders even more wide open than they are already. The last thing we would have needed was for the Stupid Party to get the message that pandering to Hispanics yields positive electoral results.

      Boston Strong.

      Which is why I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing. Knock Krispy Christie out now and ruin his Presidential chances.

      • IstvanIN

        He’ll win any way, the tighter the race the better.

    • WR_the_realist

      How do all you women feel always being lumped in with the minorities?

  • BonusGift

    I think I get your concern/point, but overall the best defense for any ‘minority’ not wishing to be targeted and fed upon by a national or localized majority is a constitutional republic as we had and as has been dismantled by things like the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”). In short, any time you allow two wolves and one sheep to vote what is for dinner the sheep will tend to lose; and the so called VRA is in my mind just another way to circumvent the intent of the Bill of Rights. In terms of effect, the proof is in the pudding, as the VRA was used to disenfranchise southern whites first and whites in general later as has been the case with ‘hate crimes’ and ‘hate speech’, etc. I say get rid of all the pseudo laws that are in fact in contravention of the Constitution and make it clear what the real intent of each law is.

  • race realist

    Talking to yourself again eh ? Gay Black Male = White Gay Male ..
    What’s the point ?

  • Eagle_Eyed

    Marginalize? Hell I’d like to institutionalize you.

  • I’ve had an overnight to sleep on it, and I’m now a little happier today than I was yesterday over this decision. We’re certainly better off for SCOTUS giving us this minor victory than we would have been if they would have upheld the entire VRA as-is, but we’re not so much better off as one would think from watching MSNBC crackpots rage. I just don’t want our people to get the idea that this decision was some sort of panacea.

    One benefit that has fallen out of the design from yesterday’s ruling is that states that were until yesterday required to do preclearance and wanted to do photo voter ID but DOJ was holding it up (TX, MS and one other) can now do voter photo ID.

    There is a theory going around our slice of the blogosphere that this ruling will hurt House Republicans in the long run because it means that the Congressional gerrymanders can no longer happen. First off, that Federal mandate was repealed a long time ago, but repealing it doesn’t mean that they can’t happen. Second, the benefits to both Republicans and black Democrats at the expense of white liberal Democrats and Democrats in general that fell out of the design of the gerrymanders that the VRA initially required is so well known that it’s now an artform. Our own state was never under VRA preclearance either in whole or in part, yet our overwhelmingly Republican state legislature plus some black Democrats from St. Louis and Kansas City combined together to beat white liberals and Governor Nixon’s veto to give us such a gerrymandered map.

    • evilsandmich

      Republicans in Ohio could have carved out un-racially gerrymandered districts here in the northeast, but chose instead to strengthen it so that Kucinich’s old district could be carved out into white districts where Republicans could compete (I’m now represented by a congressman who at last check was very much an ‘enforcement first’ lawmaker).

  • You marginalize your own self every waking minute, and need no help in marginalization from others in this respect.

  • McCain is still trading on his navy pilot/POW status. Voters eat that stuff up, even though it’s all packaging.

  • Though I would imagine you’re much happier today. SCOTUS had themselves a gay ole time this morning.

  • evilsandmich

    Why even bother with senate approval of Dem judge nominations since it’s obvious that any left wing crank will get approved.

  • evilsandmich

    I’d say that we should give up the facade and that Supreme Court justices should have to run for office, but I don’t know if a SC that looks like Congress is all that much of an improvement.

  • Homo_Occidentalis

    President Obama, whose election as the nation’s first black president
    was cited by critics of the law as evidence that it was no longer
    needed, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling.

    His tears are delicious.

  • newscomments70

    If you work hard and stay out of trouble, you will succeed no matter what your background is. We all encounter difficulties and bias; and we have to work around them. I could not be a pilot because I am color blind. I could not be a fireman because of affirmative action. I am not bitter, I found other ways to excel. Immigration policy and affirmative action are liberal policies designed to exterminate whites. They want us to become a tiny minority and basically have no rights. In South Africa, it is easy to see the future of whites in the US, with the current policies. Because of AA, or BEE as it is called there, whites basically are not allowed to study nor work. Almost all of the positions go to blacks. Furthermore, whites are being slowly exterminated there via extermely violent crimes. Whites are not allowed to protect themselves because of draconian gun laws. Like here, they will go to prison for shooting an intruder. Whites aren’t allowed to own farms. Whites aren’t allowed to own businesses. The list goes on. Past segregation laws and slavery (which is actually an African tradition) are used as excuses to discriminate against and ultimately exterminate whites. That is a horrific future, and that is why we are fighting against these policies.

  • newscomments70

    “This is why those who are politically, economically, socially disenfranchised need protection from those who can be inclined to engage in oppressive behavior toward them.” At this time, whites are in that group. In the past whites were at an advantage, but now whites are at an extreme disadvantage. I don’t believe any group should be persecuted, regardless of background. White children will be bullied their entire lives based on their skin color. I don’t think that is right. They should not be punished for anything if innocent, but liberal policy brutally punishes whites for situations that have been over for many years. In certain places, I imagine you will encounter bias. In certain places, I will encounter bias as well. Our experiences are different, but it’s all equally unfair.

  • Paleoconn

    Democratic Rep Ryan Winkler of Minnesota called Justice Thomas an Uncle Thomas. He quickly deleted it and apologized, but the tweet is there for all to see on

    I personally think justice was served with this decision.

  • PouponMarks

    Those who actually base their decisions on the Constitution against those who, in Ginsburg’s case consider the South African Constitution and FDR’s laundry list of “Rights” to be a replacement for our Founding Document. The dissenters are Marxist idealogues, Jewish defective DNA Statists/Progressives/Extreme Socialists, and one “Hispanic” who everyone in the legal community knows is a programmed bot who is in way over her head.
    Blacks and Brown’s, our “minorities”, are quite happy to be wards of the state, perpetually dependent, and therefore ranked as statistically inferior in all manner of thought and action. They want the money but not the overt admission of such. That would be “racist”. But true, nonetheless.

  • You are? Well, I haven’t had time to digest the opinions myself, because I’m too focused on immigration. But those who have have discovered that what happened yesterday did not legalize gay “marriage” in one single jurisdiction that heretofore did not recognize it. SCOTUS didn’t even overturn the part of DOMA that creates a full faith and credit clause exemption. About the “best” you can say it did for your cause is that gay “married” couples who get “married” in states that allow it can get Federal benefits if they otherwise qualify, even if they later move to a normal state.

  • newscomments70

    I disagree. If you want a government job or if you want to climb the corporate ladder, you will always be first in line. You have the same advantage in the military as well. Whites, especially males, will alway be last. Discrimination against blacks, at this time, consists of racial profiling. You might be questioned more by the police or security than a white person would be. Although that might be annoying and offensive, our situation is much worse.

  • WR_the_realist

    I would say that the evidence is that Obama is agnostic or atheist, not Muslim. Of course he has to pretend to be at least vaguely Christian, as most American politicians do.