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Civil Rights and Race Relations in America and Their Impact on the Lives of African Americans
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument tomorrow in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, one of the most important voting rights cases of our generation.
In the case, Shelby County seeks to tear out the heart of the Voting Rights Act, Section 5. The Voting Rights Act is widely regarded as the most successful piece of civil rights legislation -- if not any legislation -- ever passed. It is for this reason that the Supreme Court, through an unbroken line of cases, has four times over four decades upheld the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.
At oral argument, the Court will focus on two key questions: (1) whether voting discrimination persists to a degree that Section 5 is still needed; and, (2) whether that discrimination remains concentrated in the places covered by Section 5.
The answer to both queries is yes for two reasons.