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Key Provision of Voting Rights Act Struck Down

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which is considered a landmark in civil rights legislation. The 5-4 ruling declared that the formula for preclearance is unconstitutional and unnecessary. Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Assistant Professor of Law at The University of Chicago, is an expert on redistricting and voting rights, who has written widely on election and constitutional law, gerrymandering, and the Voting Rights Act. He joins us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm to break down the court decision. Read the full opinion: Shelby County v. Holder.

The White House released the following statement in response to the decision:

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court Ruling on Shelby County v. Holder

"I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. 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.

"As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote. But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists. And while today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination. I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls. My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process."

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin released this statement:

"For almost 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has protected minority populations from discrimination at the ballot box, whether in the form of poll taxes, literacy tests or voter identification laws and discriminatory redistricting. We need look no further than the last election cycle to understand the ongoing importance of the Voting Rights Act.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a major setback for the voting rights that courageous Americans have fought for generations to protect. Now, Congress has a responsibility to respond promptly by taking legislative action addressing voting discrimination and inequality. As chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, I will be holding hearings to address this troubling decision by the Supreme Court.”

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