Court strikes down part of Voting Rights Act

Via my colleague Jed Lewison at Daily Kos — The Supreme Court has struck down part of the Voting Rights Act. According to analysis from NBC’s Pete Williams, the court upheld the Section 5 notion of preclearance—requiring locales with history of racial discrimination to preclear any changes of their voting laws with the Department of Justice—but struck down the map identifying which areas must be subject to preclearance. According to Williams, this means Congress could, in theory, pass a law creating a new map of locales subject to preclearance. Assuming the Court approved the map, it would go into effect. On a practical level, however, it essentially means the end of preclearance because there’s virtually no chance of Congress agreeing on a new map. Therefore, given the current Congress, the effect of the ruling is to render Section 5 moot, although in theory at some point in the future it’s conceivable that a new map could be drawn that would revive Section 5.

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