On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, Attorney General Eric Holder challenged the Supreme Court to uphold a key section of the Voting Rights Act that requires all or part of 15 states with a history of discrimination to get federal clearance before carrying out changes in elections. Holder made the comments Thursday in a speech to a civil rights group whose founder and president is the Rev. Al Sharpton. Focusing on issues he regards as important during President Barack Obama’s second term in office, Holder vowed to protect the voting rights of all Americans, safeguard young people from gun violence and improve the criminal justice system. Opponents of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 say the pre-clearance requirement has outlived its usefulness. Starting in 2009, the Supreme Court made clear its skepticism about the present-day need for the provision. The court is considering a challenge on the issue from Shelby County, Ala., near Birmingham.
Since 2010, at least 10 lawsuits have been filed arguing that the pre-clearance requirement is no longer constitutional, said Holder.
“Let me be clear: While this country has indeed changed, and real progress has been made, we are not yet at the point where the most vital part of the Voting Rights Act can be described as unnecessary or a product of a flawed political process,” the attorney general told the National Action Network.
“As we await the court’s decision, I want to assure you that — no matter the outcome — the Department of Justice will remain committed to the aggressive and appropriate enforcement of all voting and civil rights protections, including every part of the Voting Rights Act,” Holder said.
Full Article: AG Holder: wants voting rights provision upheld.