On Thursday, February 21, 2013, Ryan Haygood, Director of LDF’s Political Participation Group, appeared on “Hardball with Chris Matthews”, along with Julie Fernandes, former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice and current Senior Policy Analyst at the Open Society Foundations.
Mr. Haygood engaged in a thoughtful discussion about the continuing need for the heart of the Voting Rights Act, Section 5, to protect voters of color from persistent attempts to suppress their vote. Section 5 reaches those parts of this country with the worst histories of voting discrimination. In reauthorizing Section 5 in 2006, Congress built a 15,000 page record supporting Section 5’s continuing work to protect against discrimination in voting. While Shelby County, Alabama is currently challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, Mr. Haygood expressed optimism that the Supreme Court will uphold this key civil rights protection, as the Court has done on four previous occasions.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder on February 27, 2013.