Ever since the landmark case Marbury vs. Madison was decided 210 years ago, it’s been settled that the U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter in what is or is not constitutional. Nonetheless, President Obama and Eric Holder now want to change all that with respect to the court’s ruling that struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.
In its June decision, the court ruled that states and jurisdictions that once needed Justice Department approval prior to changing its own voting laws were now relieved of that requirement. This was in recognition of the fact that times had changed in the decades since the Voting Rights Act went into effect.
Civil rights leaders met with the president and Attorney General Holder at the White House Monday to map out a plan of action to counter the court’s decision, and left heartened, according to Breitbart News.
“We were assured by the president and the attorney general they will aggressively fight to protect the right of all Americans to vote.” said MSNBC host Al Sharpton, adding that there was a “wound in the Voting Rights Act — but it is far from dead.”
The ACLU’S Laura Murphy said the administration had committed “to use all available resources to protect the crown jewel of the civil rights movement.”
National Urban League President Marc Morial said:
Keep a close eye on action at the state-legislative level. These state legislatures, in the last 24-36 months, there have been a long list of bills introduced in states across the nation — particularly in the South but not exclusively in the South — that fall into the category of voter suppression.
Florida state Rep. Allen William also attended the meeting, and couldn’t help but inject the George Zimmerman trial into it.
One thing that’s not lost upon many of us down there, post the Shelby decision but also post the Zimmerman verdict, we know that next year would have been the first year that Trayvon Martin would have had an opportunity to vote. And we know that it’s very sacred, and it’s not lost on us. We want to make sure that everyone has that opportunity.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest reported on the meeting as follows:
We should be able to build bipartisan consensus about the need to protect those important rights. The President is certainly interested in working with Democrats and Republicans to protect those rights. And that’s something that Republicans have supported in the past, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t support those kinds of measures in the future.
The biggest bone of contention with Democrats is the states’ implementation of voter ID laws. They feel that such laws curb voter participation, whereas Republicans assert they’re needed to protect the sanctity of the electoral process against fraud.
The whole purpose of a Supreme Court decision is to provide guidance to live within its spirit — not to figure out ways around it.
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