There are several history-making decisions expected to be handed down from the United States Supreme Court in June. One could effectively wipe out the Voting Rights Act. In Texas, minority voters fear a possible loss of legal protection, while states’ rights activists are eager for a change. At a recent San Antonio field hearing on redistricting Texas lawmakers once again got an earful about Congressional District maps that the courts have ruled discriminate against minorities. Jose Garza testified for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. And he kept bringing up Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. “The Supreme Court has ruled over and over and over again that the exclusive jurisdiction for making determinations under section five lies at the department of justice and with the district court in the district of Columbia and not with the local Texas court,” Garza said.
Another activist testifying against the state’s maps was TC Calvert. And he noticed something when Section Five was mentioned.
“If you noticed the body language of the members of the committee today whenever Section Five of the Voting Rights Act came up, they were kind of squirmish. They don’t like to hear that because they want to do away with it,” Calvert said
Section Five is a big part of the Voting Rights Act. It gives the Justice Department the power to protect minority voters in Texas, Arizona and most of the South, as well as some parts of California and other selected parts of the nation.