The United States Supreme Court found itself in a bit of a conundrum today - do they decide on whether the key provision of the law is unconstitutional, or do they allow it to go forward and thus stave-off a nasty showdown with Congress, which in 2006 found that the Voting Rights Act was still necessary?
Current racial conditions vs. past discrimination seemed to be at the heart of the debate. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "The evil that section 5 is meant to address may no longer be concentrated in the jurisdictions singled out for preclearance. The statute's coverage formula is based on data that is now more than 35 years old, and there is considerable evidence that it fails to account for current political conditions." (Washington Post, June 22, 2009).
So basically this is the result. The court is hesitant to determine if an Act of Congress is unconstitutional, and are not willing to take up the matter- just yet. However, it seems as if they have put off the inevitable. Needless to say, this is a huge constitutional law case. The question is, are the original conditions which necessitated the enactment of this voting rights protection for minorities, no longer relevant and evident?
Conservatives argue that with the election of an African American President, along with a number of other minority officials, makes the Act unconstitutional. Civil rights activists argue that the discriminatory conditions still prevail.
I think the Act is living on borrowed time. It will probably be in effect for the redistricting after the 2010 census, but not much longer after that in its current form.
Did You Know:
Fact: Martin Luther King Jr., was a Republican ("A Covenant With Life: Reclaiming MLK's Legacy, by Dr. Alveda C. King - niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,)