In keeping with the bipartisan support that the Voting Rights Act has always enjoyed, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing, “From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act,” for Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The hearing will feature the testimony of Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis (D-Ga) and Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).
Read LDF’s testimony here.
Watch the Senate hearing here.
Congressman Lewis, who was severely beaten during the Selma to Montgomery March that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, described the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder as a “dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act.” As Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Sensenbrenner led the bipartisan reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, resulting in a 390-33 vote in the House and 98-0 vote in the Senate.
This hearing is the first step in Congress’ longstanding commitment and obligation to ensure that voters are protected in the wake of the Supreme Court’s devastating decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, millions of voters are left without one of the core protections of the Voting Rights Act, which Congress must address.
LDF represents several African American community leaders and voters in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, including Councilman Ernest Montgomery. In 2006, the City of Calera, which lies within Shelby County, Alabama enacted a discriminatory redistricting plan without complying with the Voting Rights Act, leading to the loss of the city’s sole African-American councilman, Ernest Montgomery. Because of the Voting Rights Act, however, Calera was required to draw a nondiscriminatory redistricting plan and conduct another election in which Mr. Montgomery regained his seat.