States all over the country are bringing or joining lawsuits that claim the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. Against this backdrop, redistricting battles in states that are tinged with racial and ethnic overtones are beginning to spill into federal territory. There can no longer be any doubt: As the 2012 election season rolls around, the constitutional fate of the Voting Rights Act will have a considerable impact on the political playing field.
In the most dramatic episode thus far, Texas directly petitioned the Supreme Court this week to delay the implementation of a redistricting plan recently drawn up by three federal judges for temporary use as election season begins. The latest federal Census shows a sharp growth in Texas’s Hispanic population, thus making the redistricting politics there especially contentious.
Activists for minority voting rights view the Voting Rights Act as the only meaningful defense against political majorities in states that might not necessarily have the representational interests of minorities in mind. With new Census data in place and the intensely political, excessively partisan redistricting process in full swing around the country, the Voting Rights Act could be the only leverage many minority communities have, particularly in Republican-dominated states.
On the other hand, political majorities in states are entitled to proportional representation, and the states themselves ought to have the freedom to govern their own election procedures — such principles are, after all, part of the bedrock of our federalist democracy.
Today, even supporters of the Voting Rights Act acknowledge that the Supreme Court could well strike down the act’s most efficacious — and controversial — provision, the preclearance requirement, possibly even before the next election season rolls around. Indeed, politicos hailing from both the left and right are beginning to recognize an inexorable reality: The Voting Rights Act has become unconstitutional, and it is only a matter of time before the Supreme Court makes that official.
Full Article: Voting Rights Act’s time may be limited – TheHill.com.