US Supreme Court guts Voting Rights Act

The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval even though racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html?ref=us  Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting.
“Second-generation barriers” like racial gerrymandering and laws requiring at-large voting in places with a sizable black minority now exist in southern states
“Beyond question, the V.R.A. is no ordinary legislation,” Justice Ginsburg wrote. “It is extraordinary because Congress embarked on a mission long delayed and of extraordinary importance: to realize the purpose and promise of the Fifteenth Amendment,” the Reconstruction-era amendment that barred racial discrimination in voting and authorized Congress to enforce it.
“For a half century, a concerted effort has been made to end racial discrimination in voting. Thanks to the Voting Rights Act, progress once the subject of a dream has been achieved and continues to be made.”
“The court errs egregiously, by overriding Congress’s decision.”.

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