Today, June 26th 2013, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overturn the fourth section of the Voting Rights Act. The section is a provision of the landmark civil rights law that entitles which parts of the country must change their voting laws to be cleared by the federal government or within federal court as stated in Shelby County v. Holder.
What the 5-4 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder entails is that the provision designating which states receive additional oversight from the federal government due to their history of voter discrimination is now invalid.
Shelby County v. Holder, or the Voting Rights Act of 1965, became a national legislation act in response to the country’s surmounting racial discrimination regarding Blacks, and or minorities, right to vote. The act has been considered one of the civil rights movement landmark legislation.
In reaction to the decision, President Jose Calderon of the Hispanic Federation released a statement about the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is extremely disappointing. Our democracy relies on the principle that every citizen has the right to equally and fully participate in the electoral process. The Shelby County v. Holder decision undermines this basic tenant. The consequences of this decision will have a detrimental impact on all voters, including many Latinos.”
Under the new ruling there is a fear that Latinos, along with other minorities within the country, will experience difficult when they next visit the voting booths.
“While the Latino community has experienced gains and advances in our political influence and reach in some areas, we continue to experience the disenfranchisement of Latino voters in others. Alleged non-citizen voter purges, proof of citizenship requirements and restrictive photo ID laws have posed serious barriers that disproportionately impact voter registration and participation by Latinos. One need only remember the ballot box tactics in states like Florida used to keep African Americans and Latinos from the polls in the last national election.”
With the Supreme Court’s decision today the provisions once seen within the section will be gone possibly allowing for such tactics above to take hold.
“The ballot-box protections safeguarded by Section 4 are now gone. Congress must forcefully and expeditiously remedy the court’s misguided ruling. Voting is the foundation of our democracy. Democrats and Republicans must stand together – as they have done in the past – to ensure every American citizen has an equal voice in the electoral process.”
In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Hispanic Federation jointly filed a “friend of the court” brief in opposition to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.