The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal oversight provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required that those states with a history of voting discrimination must seek federal approval prior to making any changes in their voting laws.
Through its decision, the high court placed the task of revising the act squarely into the laps of lawmakers to revise it in order to meet constitutional scrutiny, according to CNN.
“Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to the current conditions,” said Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion.
“Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so,” said Roberts. “Its failure leaves us today with no choice but to declare Section 4 unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”
In reaction, True the Vote, a Houston-based voters’ rights organization, released the following statement:
For decades, voters in various states, counties and boroughs have been punished for the sins others committed in a bygone era. Washington has treated whole segments of this nation as guilty until proven innocent. Ideological bureaucrats have used this law to exact a form of racial justice on their presumed enemies while ignoring the country’s demands for basic election integrity measures. Thankfully, the Court stripped Washington of a power that was only being used as a weapon today.
Not everyone was thrilled with the ruling, however. President Obama said he was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling, according to PJMedia.
“Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent,” He said.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said the court “has taken the legs out from underneath the Voting Rights Act.”
“We cannot simply wish away racial discrimination, and although we have come a long way from the era of Jim Crow, the very real threat of discriminatory voting practices unfortunately remains a fact of life in too many parts of this country.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, issued a statement claiming the court’s decision turned the clock back 150 years. The Voting Rights Act is 48 years old.
Even more bizarre was far-left MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry’s reaction, who tweeted the following in response to the court’s decision:
Damn, that citizenship thing was so great for awhile.
— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) June 25, 2013
Watch the CNN analysis of the decision below.