In a vacuum, perhaps, the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court would be correct. Maybe, just maybe, five decades of the Voting Rights Act could undo two centuries of brutal disenfranchisement against blacks and other minorities in a large swath of the country. It’s much easier today for African Americans to cast ballots in nine “covered” states – including Virginia – than it was when the law took effect in 1965. Of course, we don’t live in a vacuum in America. Race still affects many facets of society, from housing to schools to political representation. That’s why the high court’s sharply divided ruling Tuesday, which gutted one of the nation’s most important pieces of civil rights legislation, was so obtuse – and so disappointing.
The 5-4 decision cited all the advancements in the affected states, most of them in the South. But the conservative majority failed to acknowledge the political chicanery that still exists. Most of the time, African Americans, Latinos and other minorities bear the brunt of those impediments.
We don’t live in a colorblind society – not yet. The voting law, which provided major federal oversight in the administration of elections, made up for that shortcoming.